Cavolo Nero and Cannellini Bean Soup

Photo: Yunhee Kim

Asolid Tuscan-style soupincludes an Italian variety of kale, cavolo nero, that has crinkly leavesand a near-spicy bite (look for the greenat farmers' markets or gourmet groceries);the dish gets significant protein fromcannellini beans.


  • 1 ½ pounds cavolo nero (also called Tuscan kale), stemmed and coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • cup finely chopped red onion

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 dried red chile, crumbled

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

  • 8 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked according to package instructions

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ loaf Tuscan bread (about 6 ounces), cut into ½-inch-thick slices and toasted


  1. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add kale; cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Plunge kale into ice bath. Drain.

  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chile, and fennel seeds; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

  3. Stir in stock, beans, and tomato. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

  4. Add kale and reserved cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Divide bread and soup among 4 bowls.

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