Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Cows Milk Ricotta
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Soups. The breadwinner of the winter season. After even a few seconds in the harsh winter winds, the thought of a hot bowl of soup and a fresh baguette will begin to warm your soul. What's most ideal about soups is that there is no wrong way to make one. A soup can fit just about any mold, taste or flavor that you are looking for. Sweet and savory, hot and bold, even cold and refreshing (although that seems far from appealing at the current moment).

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In a world of constant stimuli, from social media, individuals, and media, you can't help but be inspired by what others are doing around you. Even a simple picture on Instagram can catapult you into a world of ideas.

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The largest portion of time that you will have to give up for this recipe goes to the prep work. The cooking and heating of the soup itself is not tenuous, you can multitask in the kitchen if you need to - do a few dishes, put away some groceries. But before the actual cooking begins, you have to devote a little time to chop up the vegetables.

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Once you throw the vegetables and aromatics into the pan, you are well on your way to a delicious meal. This is my favorite part of the recipe - having the aromas of the herbs, garlic and vegetables fill your kitchen as they cook. Talk about mouth-watering.

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My twist on the classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup comes with the addition of cows milk ricotta. Ladle soup into a bowl, top it with a dollop of ricotta and freshly ground black pepper. The rich creaminess of the ricotta brings the soup to another level. As I took my first spoonful, the combination of flavors burst in my mouth. While the soup would be fine without the ricotta, I very much enjoyed the creamy consistency that it brought to the meal.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Cows Milk Ricotta  6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can canellini beans, drained and rinsed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup onion, diced 1/2 cup carrots, diced 1/2 cup celery, diced 1.5 cups zucchini, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 32 ounces chicken broth 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes 2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves cows milk ricotta

Directions: 

  1. In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.
  4. Serve topped with a dollop of cows milk ricotta.