Kale and White Bean Soup
1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, or navy
1 onion, halved (with a clove stuck into 1 half)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (25 turns on your pepper grinder)
1 bay leaf
2 rosemary sprigs
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb lacinato kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating
Fine extra virgin olive oil for serving
1. Soak beans in water overnight. To soak, place the beans in the pot and cover with water so that water is about 2 inches above the beans. In the morning, drain the beans, rinse, and set aside until ready to cook.
2. Sear the cut onion halves in a Dutch oven or a soup pot for a minute until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the beans, the rest of the olive oil, the stock, 2 cups water, the cheese rind, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Add the carrots and the celery and the tomato paste. Stir, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Stir in kale and another cup of water (if the soup is looking too thick, which is never a problem for me), and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender 12-15 minutes. Season soup with more salt and pepper, if needed and sprinkle each bowl with a tablespoon of grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.