A hearty and satisfying Italian-style soup loaded with vegetables, white beans and seasoned with bacon.
1 1/4 cups dried white beans, picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound sliced lean bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 rib of celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
4 cups shredded green cabbage
6 cups chopped kale leaves
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, chopped coarse
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese as accompaniment
- In a large pot soak beans in enough water to cover them by 2-inches overnight or quick-soak them. Drain the water off beans in pot; add enough water to cover them by 2-inches, and simmer, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep them barely covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender. Add salt and simmer beans for 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and let beans stand, uncovered.
- In another large pot cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until it is crisp; add onion and cook mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add carrots, celery and garlic; cook mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add zucchini, green beans, and potatoes; cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add cabbage and kale; cook mixture, stirring, until cabbage is wilted. Add tomatoes and chicken broth; simmer soup, covered, for 1 hour.
- Drain beans, reserving the liquid. In a blender or food processor, purée half of them with 1 cup of the reserved liquid. Stir the purée and remaining beans into soup. Simmer soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes, thin it if desired with some of remaining reserved liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.