Minestrone Soup with Piment d'Ville Croutons
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed winter squash or potatoes
1 24.5oz bottle tomato passata or 1 28oz can crushed whole plum tomatoes
1 tsp Piment d'Ville
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups broth, stock, or water
1 bunch/head of escarole, swiss chard, or kale - stemmed and chopped
2 cups cooked Sorana or Zolfini beans or 1 16-oz can white beans, drained
grated Parmesan cheese for serving
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups crusty or day old bread cut into cubes
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp Piment d'Ville
For the Soup
For the Croutons
In a large pot or Dutch oven combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onion is translucent.
Add celery, carrot, parsley and winter squash or potatoes and sauté until vegetables begin to color, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, Piment d’Ville, oregano, and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
While soup simmers, prepare croutons. Add olive oil and garlic to a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Add bread and stir to coat with garlic oil. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until bread is browned and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, scoot bread to one side of the pan to create an empty area.
Add butter and Piment d’Ville to that area and stir the two together. When the butter has taken on a bright red color, stir butter and bread together to coat. Season with salt to taste and remove from heat.
While croutons cool, add greens and beans to soup and season with salt. Cook until greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
Serve ladled into shallow bowls. Top with Parmesan and croutons.