Place a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the pancetta to the pan (if using) and cook until crispy, 5-6 minutes.
Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaves to the pan with the pancetta, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are tender, 6-7 minutes.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, stock and 2 cups water to the pot, and bring up to a bubble.
Add the chickpeas, kale and pasta to the pot, and cook until the pasta is al dente according to package directions (the kale will be done at this point too). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish the soup with the Pecorino Romano and serve.