Italian Vegetable Soup
This soup is a meal in itself, filled with winter vegetables and a secret ingredient that adds texture and flavor to the soup: a rind from a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (just remember to remove it before serving). Serve this hearty soup accompanied by crusty bread, like ciabatta.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 5 cups tomato juice
- 1 1/2 pounds small white potatoes, halved
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small bulb fennel, cored and chopped
- 16 ounces canned whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, juice reserved
- 1 (4-ounce) Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
- 1 small head escarole, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook until light brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add tomato juice, 5 cups water, potatoes, and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Add thyme, celeriac, carrots, fennel, chopped tomatoes, reserved juice, and Parmigiano-Reggiano rind; stir well to combine. Cook until vegetables are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in escarole and parsley. Cook until escarole wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.