My Mom started making this soup back in the nineties. I remember the first time she made it I was very hesitant to try it. I mean look at all the vegetables that are in the recipe. Shudder. But, I have to admit that the vegetables are nice and tender and you really can't tell they're in the soup. Plus, this recipe has a ton of flavor and it's just a nice warming dish to have on a cold and snowy day. The other great thing about this soup is you can add or subtract whatever ingredient you might like or not. If you don't like beans substitute pasta instead. Or, have both! Plus, it goes great with the bread. Enjoy!
1/4 c Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for serving
1/4 c each chopped and trimmed fennel, celery, onions, and carrots
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
6 c chicken broth
1 can (28oz) Italian Plum Tomatoes, cut up
2 c. peeled & diced russet potatoes
1 can rinsed and drained cannellini beans
1 c. finely shredded Savoy cabbage or Swiss chard
1 c. diced trimmed zucchini
2 tbsp. each chopped fresh parsley and basil
2 cups Pasta (optional
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
8 slices (one per bowl) Italian bread
Combine the olive oil, fennel, celery, onions, carrot, and garlic and thyme in a large heavy saucepan. Cover & cook over medium low heat until the vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. Do not brown.
Then, stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, potato, beans, & cabbage or Swiss chard. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the zucchini, parsley, and basil. If using add in the pasta. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into a bowl and serve with a piece of bread.