This classic Italian soup is served in almost every home and restaurant in Tuscany. Traditional Tuscan bread is called “pane sciocco” and is made without salt. I’ve never found real, salt-free, Tuscan bread outside of Tuscany. Not even in other regions of Italy. A crusty sourdough is a good substitute for this Sun Oven version.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for serving
2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 carrots, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounce) Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
4 cups shredded savoy cabbage
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
Good quality crusty bread, (preferably 1 day old), sliced
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Remove leveling tray and place a rack or trivet on the floor of the cooking chamber.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, garlic, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the cabbage, kale, bay leaf, rosemary, and 1 cup broth. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Leave the Sun Oven out. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Put about 1/3 of the cooked vegetables into the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the stockpot.
Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. Put half of the beans in a food processor with a little of their liquid and puree until smooth. Add enough vegetable broth to the bean’s cooking liquid to measure 7 cups. Add the whole and pureed beans along with the vegetable broth mixture to the stockpot and stir to combine. Put the stockpot back in the Sun Oven and continue cooking until heated through, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Ladle a little soup into each serving bowl. Line each bowl with the sliced bread. Cover with more soup. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
Makes 8 servings.