This is my favorite soup ever! The recipe is from a cooking class at the Palazzo Bandino, Chianciano Terme, Italy. Of all the recipes we prepared this was the one that I fell in love with and have made many times over the years. I have made a few changes and suggestions, so make sure to add your own.
What is so good about eating this delicious soup is that you can feel the goodness from the vegetables. I have definitely tasted the difference when I use organic vegetables. There is a real flavor pop.
2-3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 or more cloves of garlic chopped optional
1 big onion, chopped
2-3 large stalks of celery, sliced
2-3 zucchini, sliced or diced
3 carrots, sliced or diced
1 small head cabbage, sliced into small shreds
1 28 oz can organic chopped tomatoes
1 bunch Swiss chard rough chopped. Red chard is pretty.
1 bunch spinach, rough chopped
Pinch Red hot pepper flakes
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 cans 15 oz Cannellini Tuscan beans , ( or small white beans)
About 1 quart water , veggie or chicken broth
Optional: Grated Parmesan cheese
Optional :One or two Glasses of white or red wine drink while chopping vegetables makes preparing the soup so much fun!
Crusty peasant bread, sliced
Prepare vegetables, set aside. In a large 8 qt soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add vegetables in order of recipe. Cover and steam veggies for about 10 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, tomato paste, beans and water or broth. Lower heat, simmer for 1 hour.
Makes about 10 hearty servings.
To serve: toast crusty peasant bread, drizzle with olive oil. Place toast in soup bowl, ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Garlic Bread or Garlic Sticks could also served on the side.
TIP : This soup is a good keeper.The second day the soup is even better! Also freezes well.
VARIATION: Add 8 oz cooked spicy Italian sausage for a flavor treat.