Hungry Friar’s Supper Soup
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped pancetta (or bacon)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
3 fresh sage leaves, or 3 dried whole sage leaves
3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups drained canned tomatoes
8 cups canned low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Asiago cheese
Heat the olive oil and pancetta (or bacon) in a 6-quart pot. Cook over medium heat, 8 minutes, or until the pancetta is golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve the pancetta. Then spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of the combined oil and pancetta juices from the pot.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add the onion, cauliflower, parsley and herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is a deep golden brown and the cauliflower has browned, too. Remove the herbs if they threaten to burn.
Stir in the garlic and tomatoes, and boil about 5 minutes.
Add broth and simmer 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender-crisp. Sprinkle the soup with the vinegar. When you are serving the soup, sprinkle it with the garnish of parsley, rosemary and reserved pancetta. Serve, passing the cheese so everyone can use it to finish seasoning the soup.
Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish