The buttery pine nut topping on this soup will turn this autumn classic into a favorite comfort soup.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO )
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3-4 small ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), drained
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- 1 can tomato puree (28 ounces)
- 1 cup mini penne rigate or mini rigatoni or ditalini
- 1-2 basil leaves, torn
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 loaf crusty or stale bread
- 1 jar pine nuts (3 ounces or 1/3 cup)
- 1/4 grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more to pass at the table
Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.
Heat a soup pot  over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO , two turns of the pan . Add the onion, garlic, green beans, carrots, celery, bay leaf and chickpeas and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables for 7-8 minutes to soften, then add in the stock, water and tomato puree. Bring the soup to a boil, add the penne and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot  over low heat. Pulse the bread and pine nuts together in a food processor. Turn the breadcrumbs out onto a cookie sheet  and toss with the butter and cheese. Toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until light golden in color.
Top the soup with the breadcrumbs and serve.