The Sistine Chapel....
I've been fortunate to have toured Italy twice. As stunning and memorable as those places were, I'll never forget the soup my father ordered at an outdoor cafe almost nineteen years ago: Bread Soup.
Nineteen years later I have set out to recreate what I remember.
Italian Bread Soup
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans that have been soaked overnight
6 cups organic, low sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
2 medium onions, diced (divided)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1-2 diced carrots
1 leek, sliced and rinsed very well
1-2 medium red potatoes, diced3-4 cups (or more) roughly chopped fresh baby spinach
1 (28 oz.) unsalted, whole canned tomatoes (including juice, break the tomatoes with your hands)
handful of fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper to taste
day old italian bread
1. Drain the soaked soaked beans. Add to a large stock pot along with 1 diced onion, thyme, and the 6 cups broth. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour or until the beans are tender.
2. Sauté the leek and onion in the olive oil until the onions become slightly translucent. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, carrots, potato, and can of tomatoes. Add to the cooked beans. (Add more water to cover the veggies, if needed.)
3. Continue simmering until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
4. Meanwhile, chop the stale bread into cubes, coat in olive oil and toast in a skillet.
5. When the potatoes or tender, add the chopped spinach, bread cubes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Allow the bread to soak in the soup until it softens and begins to breaks down.
7. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Please note: I don't follow hard fast measurements when it comes to soup. Add as much or as little of whatever you like best. A diced pepper or zucchini would also make a great addition to this soup.