This robust winter vegetable soup uses dark greens like kale (cavalo nero is the authentic choice), Swiss chard, broccoli rabe or broccoli, even Savoy cabbage. A loaf of stale Italian ciabatta bread with crusts removed and torn into chunks works as the potato base. This recipe for 10 can be halved, but it’s a big pot rustic farm style meal at heart.
4 cloves garlic
10 branches of celery
1 lb peeled carrots
4 medium red onions
a large handful of flat leaf parsley.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28oz) peeled plum tomatoes
4 lbs cavalo nero or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
2 cups cooked cannellini beans and their cooking liquid (divided)
(Can use vegetable or chicken stock if using canned beans.)
extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper
Chop garlic, celery, carrots, onions and parsley.
Sauté gently in olive oil for 30 minutes until flavors deepen.
Add tomatoes and cook another 20 minutes.
Add cavalo nero or Swiss chard, along with 1 cup of the cooked beans and their cooking liquid to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree the other cup of beans and add to the soup with enough boiling water to make it brothy.
Add chunks of stale ciabatta or peasant bread with crusts removed, and a large dose of extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper.
No bread needed to serve alongside because it is already in the soup, but some slivers of fresh Parmesan will melt into the soup and enrich the flavors.