The winter garden has been very generous this year, so tonight we made soup.
Bean and Kale Minestra
1/4 lb kale, about 2 C chopped. I like to tear the soft, leafy part away from the tough stem and then chop finely. If you have the time, soak the chopped kale in cold water for half an hour or so. The cut leaves will soak up a lot of water and soften.
2 large cloves of garlic, minced, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 can white beans or cannellini (or use any variety of cooked dried beans), 4 C of bean water, vegetable stock or chicken stock if you don’t mind it, 1 Tbs tomato paste or 1/2 tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp dried sage, salt and pepper
Lemon wedges and Parmesan cheese for serving.
In a saucepan, make a batch of tiny pasta – ditalini or orzo – and drain. Or, you can use leftover pasta.
In a soup pot, saute the garlic in the olive oil for a few seconds. Add about half the beans and part of the water or stock and the tomato paste. Now you have a choice. Either use a stick blender to puree the beans, stock and paste in the cooking pot, or process the remaining beans and stock in a food processor and then add it to the pot. Either way, you’re creating a nice thick base for the soup.
Drain the kale and add it to the simmering pot for 15 minutes – 1/2 hour, depending on how fresh, hydrated and finely cut the leaves. Right before serving stir in the pasta, or you can add leftover roasted vegetables, a scrambled egg or pieces of leftover chicken. Bring to the table with lemon wedges for a squeeze of flavor and grated cheese.