Tuscan Zuppa with Kale
2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1â„2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3â„4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (3 minced, 1 halved)
10 oz. squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into 1â„2″ cubes (about 2 cups)
4 large kale leaves, preferably
lacinato or cavalo nero, stemmed and chopped
1 medium waxy-style potato, peeled and cut into 1â„2″ cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1â„2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
8 thick slices country-style bread
Drain beans and transfer to a 3-qt. saucepan along with half the carrots, the celery, the onions, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until beans are tender, 40-45 minutes. Set 3â„4 cup beans aside; transfer the remaining beans and their cooking liquid to a blender and purÃ©e. Set purÃ©ed beans aside.
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add reserved bean purÃ©e, along with the remaining carrots, the squash, kale, potato, and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the crushed fennel seeds and reserved whole beans. Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the cut end of the halved garlic clove. Drizzle each toast with 1 tbsp. oil. To serve, place 1 to 2 pieces toasted bread in the bottom of soup bowls and ladle soup over the top. Drizzle soup with remaining oil.