1. Food

Kale Soup over Garlic Toasted Bread - Zuppa di Cavolo Nero su Fette di Pane

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Black Leaf Kale

Black Leaf Kale

Kyle Phillips Licensed to About.Com
Kale Soup over Garlic Toasted Bread, or Zuppa di Cavolo Nero su Fette di Pane all'Aglio: Tuscany is well known for bread soups, in particular the minestra di pane that's common in the center of the region during the winter months, and its cousin, ribollita, which one makes by reheating one's minestra di pane the next day. This soup is instead from Versilia, the coastal region north of the Arno, and involves considerably more garlic than one encounters inland.

Prep Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (500 g) dried cranberry beans
  • An onion, a carrot, a stick of celery, and some parsley, minced
  • A second onion, carrot, stick of celery, and some parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds (650 g) kale
  • Toasted bread

Preparation:

To serve 6 you'll need a pound (500 g) of dried cranberry beans, soaked for several hours or over night. Boil them in about 2 quarts of lightly salted water, together with the standard minestrone herbs, i.e. an onion, a carrot, a stick of celery, and a bunch of parsley. When the beans are tender (don't let them fall apart) remove half of them and set them aside. Blend the remainder along with the herbs.

While the beans are cooking, mince a carrot, an onion, a stick of celery, a clove of garlic, and a bunch of parsley, and sauté them in abundant oil in a skillet. When the onion has become golden, stir in 1/4 cup of tomato sauce diluted in a half cup of hot water, and a half a bullion cube. Season the mixture with pepper and simmer it for a few minutes more, then stir it into pureed beans, and when the pot returns to a boil add coarsely shredded kale (figure 1 1/2 pounds, or about 650 g, for 6). You can also, if you wish, add some diced potatoes at this point. Simmer the soup for about a half hour, by which time the kale will be cooked, then return the reserved beans to the pot and heat through; the soup shouldn't be watery.

While the kale is cooking toast slices of day old Italian whole wheat bread, rub them with garlic, and use them to line your soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the toasted bread and serve it with a cruet of extra virgin olive oil that your diners will be able to sprinkle over their soup. It's good hot, and also good cold.

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