loosely packed white bread (use a Tuscan or French loaf and tear the inside into chunks, discarding crust for another use)
finely chopped tomatoes, with the juices
red chili flakes
freshly ground black pepper
roughly chopped kale leaves (no stems)
small dried pasta wuch as trofie, tubetti or macaroni
extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated parmesan, to taste
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.