½ lb. cranberry beans
2 tsp. salt
3 T. olive oil
3 oz. pancetta, diced
2 onion, minced
4 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ head cabbage, diced
2 c. plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
¾ c. red wine
½ T. sugar
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
¼ loaf ciabatta or other country style bread
1 T. olive oil
1 small bunch cavelo nero (lacinato kale)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ c. pine nuts
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Cover beans with plenty of cold water and soak overnight. The next day, place the beans and the water they were soaking in into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about an hour. Add the salt and remove from the heat.
To make the soup, heat a large pot over high heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta and cook until the pancetta start to get crisp. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for a couple minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the garlic, parsley and cabbage and cook for another couple of minutes to wilt the cabbage. Add the tomatoes, red wine and sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the beans and their broth, the chicken stock and bay leaf. Slowly simmer for 10 minutes. While the soup is cooking, tear the bread up into large pieces. Toss with the olive oil and toast in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly brown and crisp. Stir into the soup and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until bread swells and starts to thicken the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To make the pesto, remove the central rib from each leaf of kale. Roughly chop and place in the work bowl of a food processor with the garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. Season with a pinch of salt and process until smooth.
Serve soup in a warm bowl with a spoonful of pesto in the center.