If you’ve never added bread to soup before, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is a lot like a minestrone, and a great use for day old/stale bread. This is a vegetarian Ribollita version, but if you really must have some meat in it, throw in a few ounces of pancetta early on and go with a chicken stock.
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 pound frozen spinach (or kale), thawed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) cannelloni beans, drained
1 teaspoon each basil, rosemary, thyme
3 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper until the onion is golden brown. Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved. Add the spinach, beans, herbs, stock and bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
To serve, add a handful of croutons to each bowl, then ladle soup in bowl and top with parmesan cheese.
Notes: The crockpot is also a great way to make this soup. Just throw everything up to the bay leaf into it and cook for several hours (6 or so?) on low, then ladle up with the croutons and cheese. You can also use stale bread that has been toasted in the soup, but croutons are just easier in terms of eating. To make your own, dice up bread, toss with olive oil and herbs/garlic, then toast in a 250 degree oven, stirring a couple of times, until golden brown.