This year we decided to have an italian-themed Christmas
dinner festino. The menu my Aunt Isabella created was outstanding and we even put together little booklets with the recipes for everyone to take home. One of my favorite courses of the night was the chestnut-infused soup that tasted like Christmas in a bowl.
White bean and Tuscan kale soup with Chestnuts
3 cans white beans such as cannellini, drained
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (28 fluid ounces)
2 cups water
1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (roughly 3 by 2 by 1/2 inch)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups bottled peeled cooked whole chestnuts (8 ounces), halved
1/2 pound green kale, stems and center ribs discarded, and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, beans, broth, water, cheese rind, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Discard cheese rind and stir in chestnuts.
Transfer 2 cups soup to a blender and purée until smooth, then return to pot. Stir in kale and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in thyme.