During the long, cold winter months, my kids know all too well that I could happily subsist on soup alone. I find it both comforting and nourishing. Even better, it’s an easy going dish—or meal, if you’re me. I love that soup doesn’t have to be complicated and allows for improvisation.
“If I were to boil soup down to its very essence, it really is whatever you make of it. That’s true for so many choices we all consciously make in life—both in and out of the kitchen.”
The flavors in this soup remind me of the Italian countryside, and they only get better overnight—that is, if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers. The cannellini beans give a creamy texture. Garlic chips add a welcome crunch. I learned how to make them from watching my mom, Penny, cook up her spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes. If you prefer your soup a little thinner, just add water and a pinch of salt. Looking to make a one-pot meal out of this recipe? Add sliced cooked Italian sausages, cooked meatballs or even cubed extra-firm tofu.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and parsley
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves finely chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, crushed garlic, herbs and red pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add about half of the beans and 1 cup of the broth. Mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add the remaining 3 cups broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining half of the beans, kale, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer until the kale is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring often, until crisp and golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
- Divide the soup among four bowls, top each serving with garlic chips and serve.
Excerpted from SILVANA’S GLUTEN-FREE AND DAIRY-FREE KITCHEN by Silvana Nardone. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.