For the beans:
1⁄2 cup dried beans
3 sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the soup:
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1⁄2 cup chopped bacon (optional)
4 cloves garlic, chopped, or 3 green garlic shoots (in the spring)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (such as a mixture of thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano)
1 leek, chopped (about 2 cups) or spring onion (with green top)
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped turnip, plus 1 cup of chopped turnip tops
1 cup chopped fennel bulb, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds
1⁄2 tsp. tomato paste
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of chile flake
2 1⁄2 cups Kamut pasta, such as vegetable spirals
2 cups spinach cut into ribbons, or substitute another leafy green (such as Swiss chard, kale, or escarole)
- Pick over the beans, sorting away any stones or bits of earth. Cover the beans with cold water and allow them to soak several hours or overnight. Drain the beans, then cover them by 2 inches with fresh cold water. Add the sage leaves and the crushed garlic cloves and simmer the beans until tender. Remove the cooked beans from the heat and season with 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt.
- To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the bacon. When the bacon is rendered and starting to crisp, stir in the chopped garlic or garlic shoots. Let the garlic sizzle for a few seconds, then add the chopped herbs. The herbs will sizzle and give off their fragrance. Add the leek and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes, until the leek has softened. Add the chopped carrot and celery. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the chopped turnip and fennel bulb and fronds. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste to the vegetables, mixing to coat the vegetables, and allowing it to fry a bit. Season the vegetables with 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of chile flake. Add 4 cups cold water. Keeping the heat at medium, slowly bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender).
- Add the cooked beans, plus one cup of the bean cooking liquid, and the chopped turnip tops (if your turnips don’t have tops, you can substitute another green such as Swiss chard or kale). Stir in 4 cups additional water and 1 tsp. salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you would like, you may make the soup ahead to this point. If you want to freeze the soup, allow it to cool, then ladle the soup into containers and refrigerate until cold. Once the containers of soup have chilled, cover them, & place them in the freezer. When you are ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil and add the Kamut pasta. Return the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the pasta in the soup for about 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the spinach ribbons, adjust seasonings, and serve hot. If you are adding a heartier green, allow as much time as needed for it to soften in the soup.
- If you’d like, top the soup with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Leftover soup makes a fabulous base for a Tuscan bread soup called Ribolita. Literally “re-boiled”, the re-heated soup is ladled over day-old, or stale, crustless ciabatta bread (or another airy Italian-style loaf) and the whole dish is baked in the oven until bubbly hot and pudding-like in consistency. It is eaten as a savory porridge, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It is ideal to omit the pasta from the recipe if you intend to make ribolita, but it will work with the pasta added as well.
makes about 3 quarts
Chef Kathryn Yeomans The Farmer’s Feast http://thefarmersfeast.me