Broccoli rabe (also called rapini) has a sharp flavor that nicely offsets the mild, creamy beans. Collard or mustard greens are good alternatives.
8 ounces broccoli rabe (rapini)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 cups water
1 (3-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
5 (1-ounce) slices whole wheat bread, toasted
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
How to Make It
Remove and discard tough ends from broccoli rabe stems; coarsley chop the broccoli rabe.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add red pepper and 2 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broccoli rabe and salt, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add water and cheese rind. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes. Add beans, and simmer 5 minutes. Discard cheese rind.
Rub both sides of toasted bread with cut sides of halved garlic clove. Tear toasts into bite-sized pieces; divide toast pieces evenly among 4 bowls. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup over toast pieces in each bowl; top each serving with 2 tablespoons grated cheese.
This soup, though simple, is delicious. It's a spring tonic in the dead of winter. The bitterness of the rapini and the creaminess of the beans adds interest to each bite. Using Parmesan rind is brilliant and frugal. Adding toasted bread and Parmesan at the end makes it a meal in a bowl. The soup freezes well in individual portions - just heat and top with bread and cheese.
Just made this dish and am confused about the complete lack of flavor. I was concerned about water only so I split water with vegetable broth. I also added extra garlic. Nothing, not a thing. The bread did help, but not enough. Suggestions for improvement: cooking carrots and celery along with the onion, perhaps some dry or fresh herbs, can of diced tomatoes.
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