If I were to recreate the food pyramid, soup would have it’s own little cubicle, right next to burritos. Soup is an all-encompassing meal, and when earthy and robust like this one, stands alone as a proper meal. We could stop there, but you need to know about the olive oil and the bread in this MVP. You know that textural, whole satisfaction you get when you dip a piece of crisp baguette into a salty soup? All soaked and savory and blissful? Guess what. This soup is finished with chunks of crusty bread, stirred in til just thickened and THEN topped with more crusts, drizzled with your very best olive oil, and tucked into a very hot oven for 15 minutes. Top with fresh pram. And buon appetito. This Italian stew is perfection.

Find the crispiest baguette and use your best olive oil.

extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 small creamer potatoes, peeled and diced oh-so-small
5 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (use the back of your knife)
2 stalk celery, diced
1 28oz. can San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes (with juices)
crushed red pepper to taste (3 or 4 pinches)
1 15. oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
1 healthy chunk of Parmesean cheese, rind cut off and the Parm grated and reserved
1 head of Tuscan kale, removed from tough stems and torn into 1 inch pieces
crispy baguette (sourdough, Dutch crunch or country)
5 cups water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a Dutch oven, heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic, celery and a generous amount of salt, and stir occasionally, until fragrant and onions are translucent. Approximately 5-8 minutes.

Drain the tomatoes over a bowl, reserving the liquid for later. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hands (I recommend doing this in the sink, because these will squirt), breaking them down, and letting excess juice strain into the bowl. Add the tomatoes only to the pot of veggies along with the crushed red pepper. Stir to combine, and then add canellini beans. Add the water, reserved tomato juice, and Parmesean rind. Return to boil.

Add the kale, one handful at a time, waiting until each handful is wilted before adding the next. Taste test! Salty enough? Spicy enough?

Now add about 3 cups of the torn bread into the pot, stirring to combine. Simmer over low heat for about 8 minutes, allowing it to thicken. Remove from heat and top the soup with remaining bread pieces, just covering the surface evenly. Drizzle olive oil over the bread generously, and place in center of oven for 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with copious amounts of parm.

Can be made a day ahead – this only enhances the flavors more. Stop just after adding kale. When ready to serve, bring to medium high heat, simmer, and proceed with bread process.

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