One-Pot Wonders

Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale, Revisited

September 30, 2009
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Tell us about your recipe. —Merrill Stubbs

  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 4-6 main course servings
  • 1 1/2 cups pinto or cranberry beans, rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade or low sodium)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 large sage leaves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 12 1/2 ounces can chopped tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 cup loosely packed white bread (use a Tuscan or French loaf and tear the inside into chunks, discarding crust for another use)
  • 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes, with the juices
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups roughly chopped kale leaves (no stems)
  • 4 ounces small dried pasta wuch as trofie, tubetti or macaroni
  • 1 splash extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint freshly grated parmesan, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the beans for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the beans soak for 2 to 4 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, and return them to the pot. Add the chicken stock, 3 cups of water, the garlic, herbs and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about an hour, until the beans start to become tender but still have a firm-ish bite.
  3. Meanwhile, use a fork to mash together the bread and the canned tomatoes in a medium bowl. Set aside while the beans are cooking. Then, add this mixture, the chopped tomatoes, red chili flakes and black pepper to taste. Cover the pot, and simmer gently until the beans are fully tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pot. (If the soup seems too thick at any point, just add more water.) While the soup is cooking, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  4. When the beans are cooked, stir the kale into the soup and continue to simmer. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta is just al dente, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the soup. (At this point, you should not cook the soup any longer, as the kale will begin to brown, and the pasta will turn to mush.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of good olive oil, a sprinkling of grated parmesan and toasted bread for dunking.

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.