First, I thought you might enjoy a shot of this hitchhiking carrot which met its demise in this soup.
What to say about this soup...excellent carb-y comfort food! The tomato paste & cheese rinds add a lovely savoriness, without being overly tomatoey or cheesy. Please keep in mind that if you leave the cooked rice in all that liquid, it starts to disintegrate after a day or so. So if you're not eating all the soup at once, cook the rice separately and add in small quantities to each portion just before serving. Adapted from Lidia's Italian Table (Lydia Bastianich, of course).
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch cubes (approximately--don't worry about these sizes too much)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
10 cups hot chicken broth
2 two-inch square (or whatever size) Parmesan rinds
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
In a deep, heavy 4-5 quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Potatoes might stick a bit, turn down heat if the bits are getting too dark.) Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots soften, about 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.
Add broth, cheese rinds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits of potato on the bottom, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover pot and coot until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 40 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until rice is tender but still firm, about 12 minutes. Remove bay leaves and cheese rinds. Stir in parsley and season with salt & pepper to taste. Lydia suggests you chop the cheese rinds into bitty pieces and add them back to the soup. I kinda like it...though not all rinds age so well. Taste a bit before you decide if you want to add it back into the soup or toss.
My bag of Parmesan rinds I keep in the freezer.