Italian Vegetable Stew

1/2 loaf of day old bread, torn into pieces

1 bunch swiss chard, center ribs and stems removed

1 bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed

2 T. olive oil

2 carrots, scraped and cut into small chunks

1 small onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of slightly dried red pepper flakes, crumbles or 1/4 t. crushed red pepper

1 qt. whole tomatoes with their juices

8 c. vegetable broth

3 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed

1 t. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 t. oregano paste

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for drizzling


Scatter bread on baking sheet and allow to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Blanch chard and kale leaves for a few minutes, until tender, rinsing immediately with cold water to cool. Place in salad spinner and spin dry (or squeeze in paper towels).  Roughly chop the leaves and set aside.  


Heat olive oil in large pot over med heat.  Add the carrots, celery and onion, cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili pepper, cook and stir until fragrant, 1 minute or so. Add tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you do.  Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated, 10-15 minutes.  Add the reserved greens, rinsed beans, thyme, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for a few moments then stir in the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for an hour until flavors meld.  


Serve over torn bread with a drizzle of good olive oil.