Make Ahead

Tuscan Bean Soup With Pumpkin and Kale (Zuppa Frantoiana)

November  7, 2017
2 Ratings
Photo by Emiko
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

This Tuscan soup is the epitome of fall eating, made to go hand in hand with the time of the olive harvest when fresh, new green extra virgin olive oil is made. Some like to add some pancetta to this, fry it off in a separate pan and add it to the soup along with the pumpkin, potatoes, and kale. If using another leafy green instead of kale, note that you will want to add it towards the end of cooking as nothing needs as long as kale does to reach the right point of cooking.

If this is all you're having, you could get 4 hearty portions. If you are serving this with other things as part of a several course meal, you could serve 6. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 14 ounce tin (400 grams) of cooked Borlotti (cranberry) beans (cannellini beans or chickpeas also work well here)
  • 1 wedge of pumpkin (about 7 ounces/200 grams), peeled and diced
  • 1-2 small-medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small bunch of cavolo nero (you could use silverbeet or spinach instead)
  • 4 cups (1 litre) of water or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Toasted bread rubbed with garlic, optional for serving
  1. Gently cook the carrot, celery and onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or stove top casserole on low heat. Let the vegetables sweat, not colour, for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the borlotti beans with about a cup of water (enough to cover) and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Blend about half of the mixture to a smooth paste and return to the pot.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the cavolo nero by slicing out the long, central stalk of the leaves and discarding—this is very tough—and chop just the leaves roughly.
  3. Add the pumpkin, potatoes and cavolo nero (if using silverbeet or spinach hold onto it until a few minutes towards the end of cooking) and top with enough water or stock to cover (up to 4 cups or 1 liter) and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, over an active simmer so that the liquid reduces slightly and the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Serve with a good grinding of black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • teresaleonor
  • Maggie Vaughn Helseth
    Maggie Vaughn Helseth
  • Patricia Hanrahan
    Patricia Hanrahan
  • Donna

5 Reviews

Donna December 25, 2018
Rated 3 stars. Took an hour and a half to make. As a main meal, it is a healthy, nourishing, whole foods dish. However, it was lacking in flavor. I added red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and parmesan on top. You could do parsley or bayleaf while cooking, too. If you eat meat you could add ethically-treated sausage to add flavor, too. Great with buttered crunchy bread.
Jena February 1, 2018
I add some Italian sausage to make this a little heartier. This recipe is definitely one of my stand-bys, although like the other reviewers, I take some liberties with the ingredients based on what’s available.
teresaleonor January 14, 2018
just finished eating this (with a few changes) and i'm thrilled. how warm and tasty! i strongly advise the use of a bay leave, it makes a huge difference in the final flavour. plus, make sure you have a good quality bread as a side to this.

(i used turnips instead of celeriac, cabbage instead of kale, and white beans instead of red ones, because that was what i had on hand)
Maggie V. November 14, 2017
Made this tonight. DELISH! We did add a nice dollop of butter to the soup pot. :)
Patricia H. November 9, 2017
We make this all winter with many kinds of vegetables including a dollop of tomato paste, if we're inclined, and the green of the week, such as chard, kale (not just chic Nero which is often more expensive), turnips, bits of prosciutto ends, rinds of cheese... It gets us through the dark days and keeps down the refrigerator chaos.