Zuppa di pane (bread soup) (hl)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Dried cannellini beans
3 quarts Water
1½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
¼ cup Plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches Swiss chard or spinach leaves
1 large Onion; chopped
3 \N Carrots; diced small
2 \N Celery stalks; diced small
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
1 \N Loaf stale italian bread; cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tablespoon Chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tablespoon Chopped fresh basil

Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Drain the beans and run them under cool water. Place the drained beans in a large pot with the he 3 quarts of water over high heat. Add the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the water; bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook the beans about 1 hour or until tender. Remove a third of the beans and reserve for garnish; leave the remaining beans in their cooking water.

Remove the stems of the Swiss chard and finely julienne. Reserve the leaves. Add the Swiss chard stems, onion, carrots, celery, tomato paste and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper to the cooked beans. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about an hour or until the vegetables and beans are very tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the Italian bread and brush it with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown.

Remove the center rib from the reserved Swiss chard leaves and cut each leaf into eighths.

When the soup is ready, ladle the hot mixture into the blender and puree.

(It should have a thick, winter-soup consistency; if too thick, add some boiling water.) Mix in the parsley, basil, reserved beans and cut-up Swiss chard leaves. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Place 2 slices of toasted bread in each serving bowl, ladle the soup on top and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 first course servings, or 4 as a main dish Nutritional information: Calories: 557, Fat: 15 grams.

Recipe courtesy of Chef David Ruggerio and "Little Italy Cookbook" Recipe by: RECIPE FOR HEALTH SHOW #RHJ037 Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #844 by 4paws@... (Shermeyer-Gail) on Oct 13, 1997

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