Years ago, Abigail Henson’s sister, Mary Boccardo, turned her on to the idea of cooking school after seeing an ad for the Natural Gourmet Institute in the back of VT. Their paths led them away from their dreams of writing cookbooks and opening a teahouse together, but both sisters eventually enrolled in the Natural Gourmet Institute. Abigail came up with this soup on a cold winter night. “As usually happens with soup, it made itself with the ingredients I had on hand,” she explains. “I used sun-dried tomatoes as the star ingredient, and everything else just seemed to evolve.”
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and rosemary, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are soft.
2. Add broth, 1 can tomatoes, and beans. Scoop 1 cup mixture into food processor or blender, and add remaining can of tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and sun-dried tomato oil. Purée until smooth, stir mixture into soup, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 10 minutes.
3. Add Swiss chard and thyme; simmer 5 minutes more, or until chard is wilted. Remove pan from heat, and stir in basil.