Another cold day, another pot of soup. I have been trying to do more planning ahead by thinking of a week’s worth of meals and buying the groceries to make those dishes. In this case, I picked up a quart of vegetable broth, a can of cannellini beans, a bunch of kale and my regular produce (garlic, red onions, carrots and celery).
To make this soup, I started with about 4 oz. of pancetta (I get mine from the Parma Sausage Company of Pittsburgh, PA, personally delivered by my mother-in-law when she visits). I heated the pancetta and let it cook in its own rendered fat until it got crispy. I removed the pancetta from the pot, added my soffritto (onion, carrots, garlic and celery), seasoned it lightly with salt and pepper and let it soften. Once the soffritto was sufficiently softened, I added the vegetable broth and a quart of water. I brought the liquid to a boil, then added the can of beans and the kale (both of which I rinsed throughly).
I let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes and then used my immersion blender to puree the soup slightly. This thickened the broth, while leaving some of the vegetables chunky. When I ladled the soup into bowls, I dropped a few of the pieces of crispy pancetta and shaved a bit of pecorino-romano cheese over the top.
The perfect pairing for this soup was a loaf of No Work Bread. This is a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. If you are able to plan ahead, you can have a fresh loaf of homemade bread that looks and tastes as good as any artisanal loaf that you can buy from a bakery. You simply need to mix up the dough 24 hours before you want to eat the bread.