Saturday, February 24, 2007


Adapted from Rogers/Gray Italian Country Cookbook.

This is basically vegetable soup with bread. It's hearty and yummy... good winter comfort food. I first had it when I was visiting my sister in Florence. Since the version in Rogers/Gray is vegan, I traditionally make it for my vegan friends, but I know the stuff I had in Florence had meat. If you're serving omnivores, you could definitely start this off with some pancetta, and then add maybe some ham or sausage.

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
most of a bunch of celery (orig recipe calls for 2 whole bunches... this seemed... excessive)
1 lb carrots, chopped
2 medium red onions, chopped (orig recipe calls for 4)
olive oil
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, juices drained
couple of big bunches of dinosaur kale (the really dark green kind) and/or Swiss chard and/or finely chopped Savoy cabbage (orig recipe calls for 4 1/2 lbs, so kale/chard/cabbage should weigh about that, total)
3 cans of cannelini or borlotti beans, maybe some chick peas (orig recipe says cook your own, which you should feel free to do if that floats your boat)
1-2 loaves of day-old ciabatta
salt and pepper

This is a big soup, the orig recipe says for about 10 people. You'll need a BIG pot. My 13 quart stock pot is generous, but not overly so. So you may want to cut it back a bit.

1. Saute parsley, garlic, celery, carrots and onions in olive oil for a good 30 mins. Add the tomatoes (break them up into small pieces) and cook another 30 mins. Add the kale/chard/cabbage and 2 of the cans of beans and simmer another 30 mins.

2. Puree the last can of beans and add to the soup. Cover all with hot water. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper. You can make up to this point ahead.

3. To serve, add ripped up pieces of bread and simmer until the bread is soft and the soup is thick. Serve with good olive oil drizzled on top.

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