Special Sausage-and-Kale Soup

This highly nutritious soup, packed with powerful antioxidant properties in the kale and protein and fiber in the beans, is flavored throughout with other healthy, tasty ingredients.


  • 1 quart chicken stock (4 cups)
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cups packed sliced cavolo nero (also called Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale or lacinato kale)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup mini penne or mezzi rigatoni pasta
  • One can white or cannellini beans (15 ounces), rinsed
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Ciabatta bread, for mopping


In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock and porcinis. Simmer until the porcinis are tender, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until hot. Crumble in the sausage, then add the onion and garlic and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the porcinis from the stock and chop; stir into the soup. Stir in the stock and 2 cups water, then cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the soup and cook until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the beans and heat through. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of cheese on top and the bread for mopping.

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