Recipe Flash: Parmesan, White Bean, and Kale Soup with Torn Pasta

this is what I do while eating lunch: read cookbooks

: Parmesan, White Bean, and Kale Soup; Potato-Pesto Focaccia

Our chef friend Jennie was telling us recently about a dish she was helping to develop for her restaurant kitchen. It included Parmesan broth, and this captured our imaginations, especially mine because I duly save–and then ignore–all my Parm rinds. When you simmer one of those rinds in good broth, you get a rich, salty soup that’s the perfect vehicle for conveying hearty white beans, kale, and fresh pasta to your mouth. Though the weather today in New York is much too warm for soup (especially because the A/C’s likely not on yet), let’s just admit it: it’s April, and we probably have a month of rain ahead. To me, that means a month more of soup until I really have to put it away til the fall.

From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,



Parmesan, White Bean, and Kale Soup with Torn Pasta
Serves 2

2 1/2 cups chicken broth or veggie stock, preferably homemade
1 Parmesan rind, about 2 by 3 inches
Large handful of kale, stems trimmed
3/4 cup white beans
1 cup fresh pasta, torn into uneven shapes*
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan for grating

*I start with a sheet of fresh pasta and tear it into uneven shapes. You can substitute fettucine or tagliattelle, fresh or dried, broken up into pieces.

Combine the broth and the Parmesan rind in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, bring a few inches of water to boil in a covered pot. Salt it, then add the kale and cover. Cook for 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Drain. When the kale is cool enough to handle, cut the kale into bite-sized pieces.

When the broth has finished simmering, remove the Parmesan rind. Add the white beans and the kale and cook to heat them through. Then add the pasta and cook until tender–just a few minutes for fresh pasta, and according to package directions for dried. Add a generous amount of pepper, and taste for salt. Serve hot topped with grated Parmesan.

Posted in: Recipe Flash
  • Elle

    This sounds AMAZING! Thank you for this recipe!

  • chrissy

    love kale!… what an easy dish to make and i usually have these items… bet spinach or escarole would make a great substitute!.

  • chrissy

    love kale… bet spinach or escarole would make a great substitute… i usually have these items on hand… nice and easy….

  • SeattleDee

    Yummy! this fits Seattle’s Spring weather too. I think I’ll begin by crisping some chorizo bits, sauteing a handful of chopped scallions and then follow your recipe. Mmmmmmmm, now I can’t wait for lunch!

  • tasteofbeirut

    Yum! Love that I can safely say that white bean is my favorite type of bean for soup and what with the parmesan and the kale (which I have tried only once and need to try again) , perfect!

  • Frankie

    Cara, do you tear kale leaves off the tough stem before cooking this soup?

    • BGSK

      Yes, Frankie, you’re right–I forgot to mention that. When you’re preparing the kale, you want to cut out the tough stems before boiling.

  • Jessie

    Ooooh.. I love parmesan rinds! Delicious, and they add so much to the soup. Yum!

  • guest

    Oh wow, I made a similar recipe from Martha. Only she added red pepper flakes, which I love with kale.

  • Jennifer

    First – love the blog. Awesome recipes. Second – love soup. The weather will never stop me from eating it :) This recipe looks great! I’ve never cooked my greens outside of the soup before, and I really need to try your technique to cook them then chop them up after and put them in the soup. My man always complains that the greens are too big and chunky, so I’ll definitely be trying this recipe!

  • womens cargo shorts

    This one looks yummy! I’ll try this right away, thanks for the recipe.

  • jeanne

    Wow, Diner (next to Marlowe and Sons) in Williamsburg/Brooklyn is serving something exactly like this and it was wonderful! The broth was made out of the parm rinds and they used mustard greens and croutons. Yum!

  • Anonymous

    When I make white bean soup, it usually takes an hour (or more) for the dried beans to cook all the way through. Could I throw the beans in with the broth and parmesan rind while they’re simmering and then add the kale later?

  • white_cabinets

    This is
    cool! And so interested! Are u have more posts like this? Please tell me,

  • white_cabinets

    This is
    cool! And so interested! Are u have more posts like this? Please tell me,

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