Garlic is the number one son of the great cancer fighting allium family. Normally it takes a back seat as an aromatic in soups and stews, but here it is the flavorful star of... this warming soup. If you are garlic shy, don’t be. The way it is cooked here makes it mellow and sweetly delicious, and lets you have all the many benefits this pungent little bulb can give without any of the bite.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the garlic in a ceramic baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until soft. Squeeze out the garlic into a bowl.
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until translucent. Add in the roasted garlic, fresh garlic, sage, thyme and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for another 3 minutes.
Add in the water or broth and the piece of Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for at least 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender. Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then taste for seasonings.
Before serving, place the chunks of bread in the bottom of four bowls. Ladle the soup over the bread, then grind fresh pepper. Serve immediately with some extra grated cheese.
Leave the raw chopped garlic time to sit for at least 10 minutes before adding it to the onions. This will allow you better access to its nutrients.