Want a taste of Tuscany this winter? At Aroma Osteria in Wappingers, Eddie Lauria has been sharing rustic Italian cuisine with the Hudson Valley since 1997. Lauria’s traditional soup is hearty yet light and packed with protein-rich beans and seasonal kale. Since kale is a member of the cabbage family and a cool-season green, it’s available here late in the season, making it a valuable winter ingredient. Cannellini beans make great soup because they hold their shape well under heat and provide mild, creamy flavor. Lauria uses rendered pancetta fat to give the soup a savory boost and hearty meatiness that compliments the beans and the herbaceous, slightly bitter kale. It’s finished with a drizzle of premnium extra virgin olive oil that rounds the soup with a peppery zest.
1 pound dried cannellini beans
4 ounces pancetta, diced
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1 Parmigiano rind
1 pound Tuscan kale, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place beans in a pot and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil.
2. Remove pot from heat and let stand, uncovered, for 1 hour.
3. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
4. In a soup pot, cook pancetta in olive oil for 2 minutes.
5. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions are translucent.
6. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
7. Add beans, Parmigiano rind, chicken stock and 4 cups of water. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender, about an hour.
8. Stir in kale, return to a simmer and cook until the kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve in warm bowls topped with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.