Dan Butler, BigChefGuy.Com
Dan Butler, BigChefGuy.Com, Toscana Kitchen + Bar, Tonic Bar And Grille, Brandywine Prime

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Chef Dan shares his favorite recipes!

Butternut Squash Soup
Mushroom Festival
An hors d'oeuvres party
Pizza dough
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This Tuscan bread soup is a great cold day meal. It's essentially minestrone thickened with stale or toasted bread. Finishing with olive oil or even truffle oil adds a lushness to this dish that belies its humble origin. This dish becomes a staple at my restaurant Toscana in Wilmington, Delaware as soon as the the weather turns chilly.
  • 1/4 Cup good olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta small diced (one or two thick slices then diced)
  • 1 Medium diced red onion
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 Medium diced carrot
  • 1 small diced zucchini
  • 2 Ribs diced celery
  • 3 Cups white cannellini or brown borlotti beans (canned is ok!)
  • 4 Cups chicken stock plus reserved bean liquid
  • 1 tblsoon tomato paste
  • 1 Bunch Swiss chard -- in 1/2" ribbons
  • 1 Bunch black cabbage (cavolo nero) -- in 1/2" ribbons (if available, if not, use kale or more swiss chard)
  • 4 Slices country bread stale or toasted
  • 1/2 Cup parmigiano -- grated
In a large 8 quart pot, heat oil, then render the pancetta. Add the garlic and just before it browns, add the onion. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, and beans and let that saute for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste then the stock mixed with bean liqueur and bring to a boil. Lower the heat,and add chard, kale, or black cabbage and simmer 1 1/2 hours until everything is soft. Add the toasted bread and allow to cool overnight.

The following day, bring to a boil and break the bread up gently with a wire whisk.

Grate fresh parmigiano over the soup and finsh with a healthy dash of olive oil (or truffle oil)

Serves: 4

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