Minestrone with Kale
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The addition of kale in this classic comfort soup makes it even better, certainly more nutritious, and definitely more colorful! Oil-free if using water to sauté, soy-free.
1 tablespoon oil or water for sautéing
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can (1-1/2 cups white beans (Cannellini, Great Northern, navy), rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
6 cups water or vegetable stock (or half stock and half water)
2 bay leaves
1 cup soup pasta (elbow macaroni, shells, etc.), cooked
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat the oil or water in a large soup pot over medium heat, and add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onion turns translucent and the carrots glisten, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit.
Add the beans, kale, parsley, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors are all incorporated and the kale is tender.
Add the pasta, and stir to incorporate. Cook for 5 minutes more, tasting and adjusting the salt and pepper as needed, then remove from heat and serve.
Yield: 6 servings
Food Lore: The Italian word minestrone, refers to a large, hearty soup. The soup itself is part of what is known in Italy as cucina povera – literally “poor kitchen,” referring to the necessity of creating dishes based on what was available and in season. As it has been passed down through the ages, there is no fixed recipe and lends itself to many variations.