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Rach shares one of her favorite cold-weather Italian soups, minestra with beans, kale, escarole + garlic-Parm croutons.
"It is the souped-up season of soup, so we're making another 'souper' supper tonight," says Rach. (Can you say that ten times fast?!) This is one of her faves: a minestra with two types of greens—kale and escarole—that you can make with or without pancetta. If you skip the meat and use vegetable stock, she says, it can be vegetarian and still have great flavor.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
For the soup, heat EVOO, about 4 turns of pan, in large Dutch oven over medium heat, add pancetta or guanciale (if using) and render 2 minutes. Add fennel and onion, season with salt, then sweat a few minutes. Add garlic, red pepper and zest, stir a minute, add wine and let it absorb. Wilt in greens, season with salt and add the beans, nutmeg, stock or broth, 2 cups water and rind. Simmer at low-rolling boil 20 to 30 minutes, add lemon juice and adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, make the croutons. In a skillet, heat EVOO and butter with crushed garlic, swirl a minute, then toss with bread. Transfer to foil- and parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with cheese and bake until brown and crisp.
Serve soup in shallow bowls with croutons, raw minced onions and more EVOO and red pepper to pass.