Chickpea, Tomato, and Bread Soup (Ribolita).

Hello soup. Yea, you in the bowl, I’ve got a question…how did you get to be so wonderful?

You’re hot, flavorful, and everything good about a meal, distilled into one perfect bowl of sustenance. Yea, you’re pretty great.

I’ll admit—although I generally love to live in seasonal denial—that it is currently winter in Chicago. My response to winter? Besides irrational napping, soup, lots of soup. Blended soups, creamed soups, soups with cheese, soups with beans, green soup. Enough soup that my freezer is full of stacks of Tupperware with frozen soup. I’m a soup addict. Rarely do I use a plate at dinner. (Joke…probably.)

This week, I ventured into the realm of the ridiculous soup: the Bread Soup. Why bother dipping a piece of buttered toast into the soup, when you can add the bread prior during simmering, so it thickens the broth and become a wonderfully squishing, spongy dumpling? Really, why create extra toasting and buttering steps. You’re already eating a flavorful, big bowl of soup for a meal. Throw some bread in there. (And if that’s not enough, all soups, even bread soups, go great with an extra piece of buttered and salted toast.)

Alright, so bread soup, or ribolita, isn’t that odd. It’s an Italian staple after all, and who am I to argue with Italian tradition, or grandmothers? Yotam Ottolenghi’s bread soup is, as always, Mediterranean-inspired. It’s really more of a soup-stew hybrid. With the addition of sautéed fennel, mashed chickpeas, and a healthy dollop of fresh pesto, this is a bread soup with legs. Hearty legs that kick out the winter blues and leave you full after just one bowl. That’s my kind of soup.

Recipe on the following page.

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