This is an incredibly popular dish in Italy, having a deep, wonderful flavour without using meat. Serve it as a starter at a dinner party.
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 potato
- 600g tinned cannellini beans
- 200g spinach
- 6 slices stale ciabatta bread
- 1 litre of chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful of fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery sticks and mince the garlic cloves. Roughly chop the potato. Finely chop the parsley.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, carrot, celery sticks and garlic cloves until soft.
Add the bay leaf, parsley, thyme, chicken stock, tomatoes, spinach, chopped potato and the cannellini beans.
Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook it for forty minutes. Season well.
Heat the oven to 180C. Place 1/3 of the soup into the bottom of a baking dish, top with three slices of the bread, add another 1/3 of the soup, top with the remaining three slices of bread and then top the whole dish with the remaining 1/3 of soup. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake the soup for around 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is golden.