I knew this bubbly blue/green kale was special the moment I laid eyes on it in the Market in Tuscany. Whenever we travel, I love perusing the food markets to learn how the people of the area shop and eat. One of the ways the locals prepare this “cavolo nero” is in this hearty and delicious soup.
This recipe is my version. Please see the attached video for a comprehensive guide on how to make this soup, as well as ways you can become a “culinary tourist” too!
Tuscan Kale (Cavolo Nero) and White Bean Soup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 2 small onions, peeled and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped pancetta
- 4 links Italian sausages, de-cased
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped Whatever kind of kale you find will be fine.
- 1/2 bunch chard
- 1 boxes chicken broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 – 3 cups cooked cannellini beans To reconstitute, soak 300 grams of dried cannellini beans in cold water for 5-6 hours. Boil with one carrot and one celery stalk for 45 minutes to an hour. You can do this a couple days in advance if you'd like. Or, just use canned cannellini beans.
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste The pancetta and sausage will already have a lot of salt so please taste the soup at the very end to determine if it needs more.
- A chunk of parmesan rind, if you have it (for flavoring). optional
- In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the carrots, onion and celery (sofrito). Sautee for a couple minutes, then add the garlic.
- Once the vegetables have softened about half-way, add the pancetta. Stir well and continue to cook the mixture, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan as you go.
- Once the vegetables and pancetta have cooked down and are golden and fragrant, add the de-cased Italian sausage and break up with your spoon as you stir it in. Turn the heat down if you need to in order to not scorch the vegetables and sausage as it browns.
- As soon as the sausage is browned, add half the chicken broth, then all of the kale and chard.
- Stir the kale and chard into the soup then add the second half of the chicken broth and the white wine.
- Add the thyme and rosemary, then add the parmesan rind (if you have one). Cover the pot to simmer for about thirty minutes – turning the heat to medium once the soup starts bubbling again.
- Add the beans just as the soup is finishing so as not to overcook them and turn them to mush.
- Salt and pepper to taste – but be careful as there will already be salt in the boxed chicken broth, pancetta and sausage.
- Serve with crostini (little toasts).