Mediterranean Ragout

6 servings – Egg & Dairy-free
Similar to ribollita (the “reboiled” Italian soup of vegetables and bread), this recipe is a perfect vehicle for putting a wide variety of farm-fresh vegetables to good use. Day-old bread, which functions as a thickener, gives the stew a homey, comforting finish. Use a good quality olive oil–it tastes great drizzled over the completed stew.

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks (white and light green parts), sliced
2 medium stalks celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (1 cup)
3 ripe medium tomatoes, halved, seeded and coarsely chopped (4 cups)
6 cups Swiss chard leaves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons
1 cup sliced zucchini
2 cups of cubed gluten free bread or 2 (½-inch-thick) slices day-old country bread, cubed (2 cups) (contains gluten) – if you like a thinner vegetable only stew, you can leave the bread out entirely.
1 cup Parmesan shavings (optional; see note at end of recipe)

In Dutch oven or deep sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Add celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth and cranberry beans; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Add green beans, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chard and zucchini and return to a simmer. Cover and simmer until egetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat; season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add bread and stir to moisten. Cover Dutch oven and let stand until bread has softened and stew has thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon stew into shallow soup bowls and drizzle some remaining oil over each serving. Garnish with Parmesan shavings if desired and serve immediately.

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