Italian Bean and Kale Soup


Kelly Rossiter Photo
Kelly Rossiter

Difficulty Level: Easy

I'm hosting a dinner party in a couple of weeks for my book club. We read books that are food related and then we all contribute to a dinner with the theme of the book. Last month we read two memoirs from India had an Indian dinner which was unbelievably fantastic.This month we are reading Heat by Bill Buford (which I highly recommend), so we are cooking Italian food.

As the evening approaches the emails fly thick and fast as we debate about what each of us might bring. It means my mind is totally preoccupied with Italian food. So when I was thinking about my soup of the week, an Italian bean soup instantly came to mind. This is the kind of soup that you can make pretty much out of the contents of your pantry. I used kale, but you could easily use swiss chard or spinach.

It's not unusual in Italy to place a piece of stale bread in the bottom of the bowl and then ladle the soup over top of it. So for those of you who tried Sara's Tuscan bread, this is the perfect soup to go with it.


1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
4 oz pancetta, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp each dried thyme, oregano and basil
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 large bunch fresh kale, stems removed & coarsely chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed


  1. Heat oil in pot and add onions and carrot and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and garlic and cook until the pancetta is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, the tomatoes, the herbs and the stock, stirring to mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add the kale and beans and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Soups
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