Make Ahead

Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale

June  7, 2009
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6 generous bowls of soup
Author Notes

This recipe came about during an autumn vacation in Tuscany with some friends. After a day of exploring the local markets, we came back to the villa with an assortment of seasonal ingredients, and this is what we threw together. I have made it many times since, tweaking the recipe here and there. If you want to make this ahead of time, don't cook or add the pasta until you have reheated the soup and are ready to serve it. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry beans (kidney or navy will work too)
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped assorted herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped, or 14.5 oz. crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups loosely packed white Italian or French bread, crust removed
  • 1 large head Tuscan kale (cavolo nero), rinsed, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces small dried pasta such as trofie, tubetti or macaroni
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours. Drain well and return to the pot. Add enough stock to cover them (about 3 cups), the garlic and a few sprigs of fresh herbs and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer the beans gently for about 40 minutes, until they are almost tender. If necessary, add more chicken stock so that the beans remain covered.
  2. Meanwhile, use a fork to mash together the tomatoes and the bread until you have a slurry. Set aside until the beans are cooked. Remove the garlic cloves and any herb stems from the pot and stir in the tomato-bread mixture. Add 2 more cups of stock, cover the pot, and simmer gently for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pot. While the soup is simmering, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt.
  3. If the soup seems thick after 20 minutes, add up to 2 more cups of stock. Stir in the kale and gently simmer as you add the pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is barely cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the soup, adding some of the pasta water if it still seems too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ChefManuela
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • Eric Liftin
    Eric Liftin

3 Reviews

ChefManuela March 6, 2013
We add kombu weed when cooking beans, it makes it more digestible.
Merrill S. June 26, 2009
Any good "gourmet" market should have it in the fall - try Foragers.
Eric L. June 10, 2009
Where can I get "Tuscan kale"?