Italian-Style Baked Bread & Cabbage Soup

Adapted from Jaime Oliver.

3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 Savoy cabbage, stalks removed, outer leaves separated, washed, and roughly chopped
2 big handfuls kale, stalks removed, leaves washed, and roughly chopped
About 16 slices stale Rustic Country or Sourdough Bread
1 clove garlic, unpeeled, cut in 1/2
Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
12 slices pancetta
(2) 2-oz cans flat anchovy fillets in oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
7 oz fontina cheese, grated
5 oz freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus a little for serving
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couple large knobs butter
Small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked

Heat oven to 350°F. Bring the stock to boil in a large saucepan and blanch the cabbage and kale. Cook for a few minutes until softened (you may have to do this in 2 batches). Remove the cabbage to a large bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon, leaving the stock in the pan. Toast all but 5 of the bread slices on a hot griddle pan or in a toaster, then rub them on 1 side with the garlic halves, and set aside.

Next, heat a large 4-inch deep ovenproof casserole-type pan or Dutch oven on the stove top, pour in a couple glugs of olive oil and add your pancetta and anchovies. When the pancetta is golden brown and sizzling, add the rosemary and cooked cabbage and toss to coat the greens. Put the mixture and all the juices back into the large bowl.

Place 4 of the slices of toast in the casserole-type pan in 1 layer. Layer 1/3 of the cabbage leaves, 1/4 of the grated fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of olive oil; repeat this twice, but don't stress if your pan is only big enough to take two layers. Pour in all the juices remaining in the bowl and end with a layer of untoasted bread on top. Push down on the layers.

Pour the stock gently over the top until it just comes up to the top layer. Push down and sprinkle the remaining fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes or until crispy and golden on top.

When the soup is ready, taste the broth. If it has gotten a bit salty from the anchovies and cheese, add a little water. Divide it between your bowls. Melt the butter in a frying pan and quickly fry the sage leaves until they're just crisp and the butter is lightly golden (not burned). Spoon a bit of the flavored butter and sage leaves over the soup and add another grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Allergy Warning: Contains MilkContains Wheat

Click here for a printable version