Tuscan Bean Soup

  • 1 pound diced pancetta (or cooked chopped bacon)
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans (drained/rinsed)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green kale (stalks removed)
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1-2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig oregano
  • 1 loaf rustic Italian bread (cut into cubes)
  • Grated parmesan cheese (for serving)

Bundle the herbs in cooking string and set aside. In a large stock pot, cook pancetta in olive oil until slightly crispy (3-4 minutes). Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes. (Alternatively, cooked/chopped bacon can be substituted after vegetables are sautéed.) Add the white wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add all drained beans, diced tomatoes and the chicken broth. Add bundled herbs and additional salt and pepper to taste (if needed). Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the kale and continue to cook on a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender (about 30-40 minutes). Remove bundled herbs.

Throw bread cubes in a sauté pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toast over medium heat until light golden brown on outside (7-10 minutes), tossing occasionally. Serve soup topped off with toasted bread and freshly grated parmesan cheese.