Recipe: Warming Winter Cannellini Soup with Kielbasa and Kale

Winter Cannellini SoupJust the sort of soup Italian Grandmothers kept on the back burner for cold and hungry children,  this is a recipe that tastes good the first day,  even better the days after.  Our friend Gene, served a version of this soup as the centerpiece to a dinner party that included 18 people and four hungry teenagers.  He served it with a loaf of Italian Bread, warmed with butter.  For me,  I’d choose corn bread.  Yes.  Probably Jiffy.

Makes 6-8 servings

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oi

12 ounces cooked beef kielbasa, cut into coins

1 large onion,  finely chopped

1 fennel bulb, finely chopped (reserve and chop feathery tops for garnish)

6 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 boxes chicken broth (about 10 cups)

1 package (12 ounces) fresh chopped kale

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained (Goya)

1 15-ounce box chopped Italian tomatoes (Pomi)

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

1 cup grated Asiago or Parmigiano

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add ingredients in order, up to the broth, taking your time as you chop, so that the vegetables cook down.  Then add broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in kale, cannellini and tomatoes and simmer until kale wilts.  Taste and adjust seasonings with sea salt and cracked black pepper.