potato, swiss chard, and bread soup (zuppa di patate, bietole, e pane)
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(contributed by Nancy)
This is a very comforting soup. I have used all sorts of potatoes too; Yukon Golds, white potatoes or Russets. From Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich.
3/4 pound white, red, or Russet potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 small bunch chard
1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) day-old Italian bread without crusts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1. Pour enough cold water over the potatoes in a deep, heavy 4-quart pot to cover by three fingers. Salt the water lightly and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water is at a gentle boil and cook the potatoes, covered, until they are tender but still hold their shape, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, strip the chard leaves from the stems. Wash the chard in a sink full of cool water, swishing it well and waiting for the dirt to settle to the bottom of the sink. Scoop the chard out with your hands; drain well in a colander. Cut the chard leaves into 1 1/2 inch strips and stir them into the water after the potatoes have been cooking about 5 minutes.
3. Stir the bread into the pot after the chard has been cooking about 5 minutes. Season the soup with salt and cook until the potatoes and chard are tender and the bread is falling apart, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and stir them into the oil. Sprinkle the crushed red pepper over the oil and cook until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot. Stir well.
5. Taste the soup and season with additional salt if you like. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, and sprinkle some of the grated cheese over the top of each, or pass a bowl of cheese separately.
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