Chickpea Stew with Asiago Cheese Toasts

Serves 4-6 / Delicate butternut squash and spinach complement the distinctive flavor of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in this fiber- and protein-rich stew.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium leek, washed well and finely chopped (white and pale green parts only)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped rosemary
8-12 1/4-inch-thick slices baguette
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, torn
Salt and pepper, to taste
Additional Asiago cheese, for garnish

1. In a large, heavy pot, heat butter and olive oil and sauté leek and garlic, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 cups broth, beans, squash, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes, until squash is tender and beans are soft.

2. While soup is cooking, sprinkle baguette slices with Asiago cheese and toast until cheese just melts. Set aside.

3. Scoop 1-1/2 cups soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Add a bit more broth if necessary. Stir back into the pot. Stir in spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes longer, until greens are just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with cheese toasts and additional Asiago cheese, if desired.