This recipe is adapted from Sarah Copeland's forthcoming book, "Feast" (Chronicle Books).The deep savoriness of tuscan kale, a backyard-garden staple in northern Italy, makes a superb foundation for soups, sides, and vegetarian mains. In this deceptively simple dish (the onions are essentially quick-pickled right in the pan), the orecchiette is practically treated as a condiment. As soon as you sit at the table, stir a few slices of semisoft goat cheese into the hot greens and pasta until they soften. You'll think to yourself, I could live on this stuff.
Tuscan kale, also known as cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, and lacinato kale, is sweeter and more tender than regular kale, which can be used instead but may require more cooking time.
Return to Healthy Cruciferous Vegetable Menu
At the Blue Hill at Stone Barns farm, Tuscan kale is picked when it's young. The leaves are tender enough that they can be roasted and eaten whole. This likely won't be the case with most kale found at farm stands and in grocery stores, so we recommend slicing the leaves into ribbons.
This dish requires about an hour's cooking time. If your're having more than eight guests, double the ingredients. But don't aim for too many leftovers: We don't recommend freezing white-bean soup because the texture breaks down after a while. (Although an extra bowl or two will keep in the refridgerator for three to four days.) Pair the soup with a full-bodied red wine.