Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

For the past week, I’ve been fighting a wretched cough/ cold/ general feeling of ick. Which means that the only thing I’ve wanted to consume has been soup. The combination of warm broth, nutritious vegetables, and comforting nostalgia makes for a restorative meal. For my kale and cannellini bean soup, I started with a broth that I’d made from odds and ends that I had in the fridge– leftover vegetable ends, onion, garlic, and herbs that were about to turn. I warmed the stock, and enriched it with some reconstituted mushrooms and the water I’d soaked them in. I added a healthy pour of sherry, along with slices of garlic, chopped carrot, and and a can of drained cannellini beans. As the beans warmed, I chopped up a large bunch of kale, leek, and some flat leaf parsley. I added these to the pot, and on a whim, also added a cup of pastina– little tiny stars of pasta that my mother use to serve me in soup, or plain with butter, when I wasn’t feeling well as a child. While the pastina cooked and the flavors began to meld together, using the food processor I made a quick pesto of basil, parsley, arugula, olive oil, and a mixture of nuts (macadamia, walnut, hazelnut and cashew) that I stirred into each bowl of soup. I served it hot, along with a good loaf of bread from a nearby Polish bakery. It definitely helped me feel better.

Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

The combination of kale and cannellini is classic, although they typically appear together in a tomato-based broth. This clear broth soup is lighter and less acidic. The addition of dried mushrooms and their broth serves to deepen the flavors. Experiment by adding in additional herbs and vegetables. I don’t have specific measurements for many of the ingredients, because it’s largely based on what you have on hand. 

INGREDIENTS

  • Vegetable broth 
  • Dried mushrooms
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Dry sherry (a healthy pour)
  • Carrot, diced
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 cup pastina
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • Pesto (optional)

In a medium-large stock pot, warm the vegetable broth. In a small bowl, add water to the dried mushrooms, and set aside. When the mushrooms have reconstituted, remove from water, and chop if necessary. Add the mushrooms and the mushroom liquid to the broth. Add sliced garlic, carrot, and sherry. Add cannellini and let simmer over low heat, until beans have warmed through. Add kale, leek, parsley and pastina. When the pasta has cooked, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with bread, and garnish with pesto. Enjoy!

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