This is my all time favorite soup to make.  Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa. It’s very easy. Serves 8.

1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini

Kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving

1/4 pound diced pancetta or smoked bacon

2 cups chopped yellow onions ( 2 onions)

1 cup chopped carrots ( 3 carrots)

1 cup chopped celery ( 3 stalks)

3 tablespoons minced garlic ( 6 cloves)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 ( 28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree , chopped

4 cups shredded or chopped savoy cabbage (optional)

4 cups coarsely chopped  kale

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

6 cups chicken stock

4 cups sourdough bread cubed and crust removed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1 inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 15 minutes., until beans are tender. Set aside and let cool in their liquid.

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Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium low heat for 7 to 10 minutes., until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium low heat till vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally for another 7 to 10 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage if using, the kale and basil and cook over medium low heat for another 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Drain the beans reserving their cooking liquid. In a food processor puree half the beans with a little bit of their liquid.

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Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans.

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Pour the bean liquid into a measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. over low heat. Add the bread and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot in soup bowls , add cheese and drizzle olive oil.

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