Andrew and I have fallen into the habit of exchanging cookbooks on special occasions. This seems to happen so frequently [for birthdays, anniversaries, holiday, because it’s Tuesday and we’ve decided to] that an entire wall of our apartment has been overthrown in our proud effort to display them. In fact, our move from New York to DC was almost dictated by their sheer volume and weight, the majority of boxes containing their cumbersome contents.Anyways, this February, 28th marked the three year anniversary of Andrew and I meeting. Of course a celebration ensued and to commemorate the occasion Andrew presented me with Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, a vegetarian plant emphasizing cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. I like a cookbook most when it has the ability to double as a portable art gallery. Though I do admire a good recipe, what I enjoy most is flipping through the volumes and admiring how chef’s have the ability to transform into artists and make their food not only appetizing, but so well composed and glorious it’d be an atrocity to eat it. I am captivated and entranced by Plenty. To celebrate our newest addition and as an ode to our impending honeymoon in Positano, Italy, Andrew and I were immediately drawn to this stunning Italian soup. It is deep, flavorful, hearty and impassioned. This soup is an excellent way to get a very large serving of vegetables in addition to a delicious and very filling meal. Though my photography may not do it justice, the reds, oranges, greens and yellows found in this stew are indicative of the plethora of nutrients provided. Enjoy!
Tomato, Chickpea & Bread Soup [Serves 6]
Adapted from: Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine, we used chardonnay
28 ounce can plum tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1.5 teaspoons sugar
4.5 cups vegetable broth, low sodium preferred
28 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh spinach
2 large pieces toasted italian bread
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until just hot. Add the onion and fennel and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes, just until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the tomato paste then add the wine and let bubble for 1 minute.
Add the plum tomatoes, the herbs, sugar, stock and salt and pepper to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and let simmer on low for 30 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and spinach to the saucepan and leave them to simmer for 5 minutes. Next, add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve!
Nutritional Information (per serving)
290 Calories, 48g Carbohydrates, 4g Fat, 9g Protein