Tomato and White Bean Panade
Makes 4 servings (approximately 6 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
3 slices of thickly cut, day-old bread
1 16-ounce can of white beans like cannellini or navy
1/2 shredded cup parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus extra for garnishing
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and one teaspoon of salt, and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about thirty seconds.
Pour in the tomatos, juices, and broth. Add one tablespoon of the brown sugar, bay leaf, anise, red pepper flakes, and one teaspoon of salt. Increase heat to bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and star anise. Add the bread and beans, and stir to combine. Simmer for another five minutes or until the bread has soaked up the majority of the broth and become mushy.
Stir in the cheese and taste for seasonings. If bitter, add the second tablespoon of brown sugar and one teaspoon of salt.
Serve in separate bowls and garnish with extra cheese.