Your New Favorite Way To Eat Kale — The Italian Way

Photo: Courtesy of Saveur.
Author Nancy Harmon Jenkins uses olive oil three ways in this version of the venerable Italian soup: for sautéing garlic, rubbing on the toasts that accompany the dish, and finishing the soup.
Tuscan Bean Soup
Serves 4-6
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Ingredients
2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1⁄2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (3 minced, 1 halved)
10 oz squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into 1⁄2" cubes (about 2 cups)
4 large kale leaves, preferably
 lacinato or cavalo nero, stemmed and chopped
1 medium waxy-style potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
8 thick slices country-style bread
Instructions
1. Drain beans and transfer to a 3-quart saucepan along with half the carrots, the celery, the onions, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until beans are tender, 40–45 minutes.
2. Set 3⁄4 cup beans aside; transfer the remaining beans and their cooking liquid to a blender and purée. Set puréed beans aside.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add reserved bean purée, along with the remaining carrots, the squash, kale, potato, and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
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4. Stir in the crushed fennel seeds and reserved whole beans. Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the cut end of the halved garlic clove. Drizzle each toast with 1 tablespoon oil. To serve, place 1 to 2 pieces toasted bread in the bottom of soup bowls and ladle soup over the top. Drizzle soup with remaining oil.