Aired November 14, 2007
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
2 carrots, chopped or 1 cup store-bought, pre-shredded carrots
4 stalks celery from heart, chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
1 bunch kale, thick vein removed and leaves coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
4 to 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/2 pound whole wheat elbows
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
1 loaf crusty bread
Heat a medium-size soup pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO, about 2 turns of the pan. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy and golden brown, 4-5 minutes.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and bay leaf to the pot, and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Season the veggies with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the beans, chickpeas, herbs, tomatoes, stock and water to the pot, and bring up to a bubble. Add the kale and cook until wilted. Add the pasta and boil the soup until the pasta has cooked to al dente, according to package directions. (If you aren't serving the soup right away, cook the pasta separately and add it to individual portions as you serve.)
Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool for about five minutes before serving. Serve the soup with plenty of grated cheese at the table and some crusty bread for mopping.