Tuscan Bean Soup
- 1/2 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or 1 (14-ounce) can store-bought beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup cannellini beans soaked overnight or 1 (14-ounce) can store-bought beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- 1/2 pound diced pancetta
- 2 cups diced yellow onions
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 quarts chicken stock, plus extra water if needed
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 heads Lacinata kale, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 loaf Italian peasant bread, cut into thick slices
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for serving
Place the kidney beans in a medium pot, add water to cover by 2-inches and bring to a boil. (If using canned kidney beans, skip this step.) Turn the heat down, let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until just-tender. Use the same process for the cannellini beans.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, rendering the fat and cooking until slightly crispy about 3 minutes. Saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add the diced tomatoes, the cooked and drained kidney beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, and the chicken stock. Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs and the bay leaf into a bundle and add to the pot. Season with the red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then add the kale. Continue cooking until the beans are completely tender.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil over the slices of peasant bread, season with a little salt and pepper and toast in the oven. Serve the soup in large bowls with grated Parmesan and a slice of toast.
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