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This thick soup resembles a stew because its rich broth is chock full of nutty brown rice and tasty vegetables.
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 2 tablespoons margarine or 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups water
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and chopped (4 cups)
- 1 small summer squash (1 cup) or 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 1⁄2 cup brown rice
- 3 ounces tomato paste (1/2 of a 6-ounce can, about 1/3 cup)
- 1⁄4 cup dry red wine
- 3 vegetable bouillon cubes or 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄2 cup orzo pasta, cooked and drained (or other small pasta)
- 4 slices fresh bread, thin slices, lightly toasted
- olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan cook the onion in hot margarine or butter till onion is tender but not brown.
- Carefully add the water, eggplant, squash, brown rice, tomato paste, red wine, bouillon cubes or granules, garlic, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or till vegetables are very tender.
- Stir in cooked pasta; heat through.
- Lightly brush each slice of French bread with olive oil.
- To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and place one bread slice on top of each serving, the sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.