In a large bowl, let the white beans soak in enough water to cover them by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak them. Drain the white beans, in a saucepan combine them with enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and simmer them, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep them barely covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender. Add the salt and simmer the white beans for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the white beans stand, uncovered.
In a heavy kettle, cook the pancetta in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is crisp and pale golden, add the onion, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the carrots, the celery, and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, the green beans, and the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and the kale and cook the mixture, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted. Add the tomatoes and the broth and simmer the soup, covered, for 1 hour.
Drain the white beans, reserving the liquid, in a blender or food processor puree half of them with 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and stir the puree and the remaining white beans into the soup. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes, thin it if desired with some of the remaining reserve liquid, and season it with salt and pepper. The soup may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the soup, thinning it with water as desired. Serve the soup with the Parmesan, the bruschetta, and the sausages.
On a baking sheet toast the bread slices in batches under a preheated broiler about 3 inches from the heat for about 1 minute on each side, or until they are golden, transferring them as they are toasted to a work surface. Rub 1 side of each toast slice with the cut side of a garlic clove, brush it with some of the oil, and season it with salt.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine