Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rachel Ray's Kale and White Bean Soup

The cold and snow continue, and doesn't a bowl of hot soup just cure those winter chills? This recipe is Yummy! Be sure to buy good, thick bacon from the butcher block, and don't skimp on it.

Deep Winter Minestra - Beans and Greens Soup

Easy and inexpensive to prepare and serve this hearty, healthy soup any night of the week!
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 pound thick-cut speck (smoked pancetta) or butcher thick-cut bacon, diced 1/8-inch
  • 3/4 pound crimini or mixed wild mushrooms (or a mix of wood ear and crimini mushrooms), thinly sliced (I used baby portabella's because that's all the store had)
  • 1 medium onion, halved across and thinly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 small bundles or 1 large bundle (about a pound) lacinato or Tuscan black kale, stemmed and very thinly sliced (again, I just used normal old kale, because that's what they had)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 quart chicken, beef or mushroom stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried pasta, such as penne rigate, mezze rigatoni or whole wheat short-cut pasta (I hate soggy pasta, so I used instant pearled barley-- it retains it's texture in left-overs)
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic drizzle
  • Pecorino cheese, for grating
  • Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the speck or bacon and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and brown, 6-7 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook 5-6 minutes more to soften.

Wilt the greens into the pot and season with a little salt, lots of pepper and some nutmeg. Add the beans, stock and water to the pot and bring up to a boil. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to a low, rolling boil and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar onto the soup (go carefully). Check the seasoning, then serve in shallow bowls with some grated Pecorino on top and crusty bread alongside, for mopping.

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