3 tablespoons olive oil [I used EVOO]
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, sliced [I didn’t add any this day because I didn’t have any *insert frowny face*]
4 garlic cloves, crushed [I used 2 green cloves and 2 aged cloves]
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 fennel bulb [I used Bok choy, it is an acceptable substitute.  I could not find fennel in the vegetable section of my local grocery store.]
2 large zucchini, finely sliced [I used one huge one from the local farmers market]
14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons pesto, either homemade or store-bought [I used a Knorr pesto packet]
3 3/4 cups vegetable stock [I used one quart]
14-ounce can haricot or borlotti beans, drained [I used a can of white beans by Bush’s]
salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
1 pound young spinach
1 tablespoon EVOO, plus extra for drizzling
6 to 8 slices white bread
Parmesan cheese shavings

1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and fennel and fry slowly for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini slices and fry for 2 minutes longer.  [The frying process caramelizes the vegetables and allows them to hold all of their flavor inside.]

2.  Add the crushed tomatoes, pesto, stock and beans and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. [I put in a generous handful of finely shredded Parmesan cheese.]

3.  To serve, fry the spinach in the oil for 2 minutes or until it wilts.  Spoon over the bread in soup bowls and ladle the soup over the spinach.  Serve with EVOO for drizzling onto the soup and Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, if liked.

Makes 12 measured cups.

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