- 2 cups drained and rinsed canned cannellini beans (one 19-ounce can)
- 4 cups water, more if needed
- 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 3/4 pound cabbage (about 1/2 small head), chopped (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 cups canned tomatoes with their juice (from a 28-ounce can)
- 2 1 1/4- inch-thick slices country bread
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine 1 cup of the beans with 1 cup of the water and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the rosemary, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, chard, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the cabbage wilts, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Stir in the bean puree and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the bread on a baking sheet and toast until golden, turning once, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining beans and the toasted bread to the soup. Increase the heat to moderately high and bring just to a boil, stirring to break up the bread. If the soup is too thick, stir in some additional water.
Wine Recommendation: Tuscan cooking doesn't get any more traditional than this. No wonder this soup's perfect partner is Chianti Classico from Tuscany's cultural, spiritual, and gastronomic heartland.