parmesan broth with kale and white beans
8 ounces cheese rinds, any paper at the ends removed
6 cups water
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
Handful of flat-leaf parsley
Salt, to taste
2 to 3 ounces tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry
1 1/4 cups cooked white beans (from about 1/4 pound dried), with their cooking liquid if fresh (usually about 1 1/2 cups)
Thin slices of baguette, toasted
Olive oil and parmesan for serving
Make the broth : Bring all broth ingredients to a boil in a large pot, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer for one hour. Pour broth through a strainer. Your yield should be approximately 4 1/2 cups. You can use this right away or cool it before storing it.
Turn the broth into soup : Prepare kale by removing tough stems and center rib (I often use kitchen shears for this), then cutting the leaves into thin ribbons. Add them to the broth, along with the beans. Add bean cooking liquid if you wish; this not only stretches the intense parmesan broth further but adds a gorgeous extra depth to the soup. Simmer ingredients together for 10 minutes, until kale leaves wilt and beans are warmed through.
To serve : Ladle a small amount of beans, kale and broth into a bowl. (It’s so rich, we like it in smaller portions.) Top with a slice of toasted baguette. Drizzle baguette and soup lightly with your favorite olive oil and grate some fresh parmesan cheese over .
notes : a downside of this soup is that the residual cheese on the rinds enjoys releasing from the rinds as it cooks and gumming itself to your pot, giving you a fun scrubbing job. The best way to avoid this (this time, or in the future) is to tie the cheese rinds up in cheesecloth so the flavor infuses but less of the cheese. A second way is that if you have a nonstick pot you haven’t gotten rid of, use it here. It will be easier to clean. The way I do it , is to keep using that cheesy pot to make the soup after you’ve used the broth, stirring and scraping. I find that only a little is left at the end this way. Hope that helps.