APRIL SHOWERS LUNCH MENU: 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,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Parmesan, White Bean, and Kale Soup with Torn Pasta
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.