This classic Italian soup is a one-pot supper filled with Mediterranean-style nutrition, good for heart and soul. When wholegrain pasta is added to tender kidney beans and vegetables simmered to perfection, the results are hearty and warming, a perfect meal for the end of winter. Satisfying without any dairy, and reminiscent of Tuscan farmhouse cuisine at its best.
1 onion, chopped
Inner stalks of a head of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 quarts water or good-quality vegetable stock
1 cup dried kidney beans, rinsed and soaked in water to cover overnight
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
1 24-ounce can tomatoes, diced, with juice
1 1/2 cups kale, thick stems removed, coarsely chopped
4 ounces dried pasta of choice
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt to taste
1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute onion and celery until tender and beginning to brown. Add water or stock and bring to a boil.
2. Drain soaked kidney beans and add to soup, along with sage. Cook until beans are tender, about an hour.
3. Add potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and tomato juice to soup; simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour, adding more water or stock if needed.
4. Add kale and pasta and cook around 10 minutes, until pasta is tender. Add salt to taste and serve hot.
Serves 10 to 12.