Spring Soups - Kale & White Bean (with sausage!)

20120501-195522.jpg Farmers' markets - and my garden - are teeming with greens that make great soup. This week, I fell in love with 2 bunches of lacinato kale. They were destined for my soup pot - but I wasn't in the mood for stew. I wanted brothy & fresh flavors, which translates into a delicious quick meal.


Ingredients: - 2 bunches of lacinato kale, washed & stems removed (chuck the stems in your composter or give them to your pup) - 8 cups of chicken stock, boxed or homemade - 16 oz of cannelini beans - cooked or canned - drained & rinsed - 8 oz dried pasta, something like ditalini or pastina, cooked al dente - 4 cloves of garlic, whole - 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, whole (sliced after cooking) - extra virgin olive oil - salt & pepper, to taste - shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese



Method: - Wash, wash, wash your kale. Best way is in the sink. Then remove the leaf from the rib and chop the leaves, NOT a chiffonade or julienne. Rustic. - After you've prepped the veg, get the sausage going with some olive oil, in a large soup pot or dutch oven - Brown all sides of the sausage - Fill a second soup pot with water & cook the noodles according to the package instructions - When the sausage is seared, add the chopped kale, salt, and whole garlic cloves - The kale will cook way down. After about 5 mins, add the stock and simmer until the sausage is cooked through - Stir in the beans and simmer for 5 additional minutes - Ladle the soup over a few noodles - Shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil is a great finish


The soup is light, but doesn't leave you hungry. Something about these little pastina noodles add just enough to fill you up. The cannelini beans help too! Though they're delicate, the velvety texture almost melts into the soup.


Temps are supposed to climb into the 80s this week and I have a feeling I'll be craving gazpacho soon. But as long as the kale and other greens are growing, we'll have an appetite for this soup. It's quick, fresh, and the perfect mid-week meal.