Tuscany Tonight’s Ribollitta (Hearty Spring Bread Soup)

Serves 8

2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek, cut lengthwise and 1/4?chop into half moons
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cups Tuscan kale or an assortment of other spring greens, washed, rinsed and chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise and 1/4?chop into half moons
Fresh pepper to taste
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 quarts hearty vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 15 oz. can Cannellini or cranberry beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen spring peas (no need to defrost if frozen)
8 thick slices, day old crusty bread (Ciabatta, Tuscan, artisanal type), broken into large pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a heavy bottom large pot, heat oil on med-high heat. Add pancetta, cook until golden. Add onions and leeks; cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add zucchini, carrots and celery, stir frequently and cook about 5 minutes. Season with pepper; adjust heat to medium-low.

In a small bowl, blend tomato paste with 1/4 cup broth and add the mixture to the soup.

In a mini chop or blender; cream the beans with 1cup broth then add mixture to the soup. Add the rest of the broth and increase heat to medium. Stir in the parsley, basil and peas. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls that are lined with a thick dry slice of bread. Season each bowl with fresh pepper and Parmesan cheese.