Mark Bittman, and his How to Cook Everything cookbook, suggested a Cream of Broccoli Soup that sounded just fine to me - and it was both simple and delicious. He notes that it works with lots of vegetables - carrots, cauliflower, celery... you know, the standard "Cream of ___ Soup" options.
If you do include rice, as I did, be sure to puree it pretty thoroughly - otherwise you get sort of distracting rice bits in each spoonful. This is an excellent candidate for the immersion blender - it removes the entire "transfer to a blender without burning yourself, blend the hot soup, wash the pan, put the puree back in the pan and heat without boiling" portion of the event.
I made half a recipe, but I'm including the full recipe here.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
adapted from How to Cook Everything
1 lb broccoli, trimmed and cut up (I peeled and sliced the stalks to include, too). 1 pound of broccoli is about 4 loosely packed cups.
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup rice or 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into quarters
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1 cup heavy or light cream or half-and-half
minced fresh parsley leaves or chives for garnish
Chop up the broccoli and set aside. Chop up the onion and cook it at a low temperature in the butter for a few minutes, or until softened. Add the broccoli and cook for a few minutes. Add the rice and stock and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Cool slightly, then puree in a food mill or a blender. Return to the pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper, add the cream. Heat through again, garnish and serve.