Aired February 5, 2009
1/4 pound sliced pancetta, diced (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
3 ribs celery, cut into small dice
1 large or 2 medium red onions, cut into small dice
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (about a handful) dried porcini or mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 small bunch purple or green kale, stems removed and leaves shredded
1 cup whole wheat fusilli or other short cut pasta
1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish
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.