For the past few weeks the weather has been pretty gross, and it seems like almost everyone I know has a cold. I wish I could invite them over for a bowl of soup, but I’ll have to settle for the next best thing – sharing the recipe. This white bean and kale soup is exactly what I look for when I’m feeling under the weather. It’s basically a big bowl of brothy comfort.
To make it, start by browning some pancetta in olive oil. I really love the slightly floral flavor of pancetta and the meaty bites it adds to brothy soups (I also use it in my spring vegetable soup), You can also substitute bacon if you want. Once the pancetta is browned, I add some onion and tons of garlic and let them soften before adding carrots and celery.
Once the vegetables are soft, it’s time to add the broth. Since this white bean and kale soup doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, it’s really important that the ones you use are great quality.
The stock is the star of this dish, and I love the depth of flavor that roasted chicken stock adds. You can make your own roasted chicken stock, or buy it already made – I like the one made by Saffron Road, but I’ve also seen it for sale at small butcher shops and farmer’s markets.
Let the broth and vegetables simmer for a few minutes to help their flavors meld, then add the beans and kale and cook until they’re just heated through.
While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta in a separate pot. This is one of the few recipes where I go through the hassle of boiling the pasta separately, because it soaks up too much broth otherwise.
You can use a tube-shaped pasta like penne or rigatoni, but I really love bowties in this soup. They’re a little more delicate and just seem to go really well.
Add the pasta just before serving, then top the white bean and kale soup off with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve it with a big wedge of rosemary roasted garlic bread for dunking.