My Favorite Soup

In Soups on July 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm

My Favorite Soup

Indescribable goodness

I am an unashamed fan of Rachel Ray’s food. Her recipes are easy and oh-so-yummy. I must admit I usually just use her recipes as a jumping off point because they usually aren’t seasoned enough for my taste. (Personally I think she eases off for the general public. I don’t.) Before The View (what can I say? I LOVE Whoopi!) and after two hours of GMA I skip over to CBS to watch RR. It started off as a way to avoid Kelly Rippa and turned into a daily ritual. I often determine what’s for dinner by what Rachel is preparing on her show. She, like me, loves burgers and sandwiches.

This soup is a perfect example of how I use Rachel Ray’s recipes as a jumping off point. I saw her making Ribollita, a Tuscan soup made with stale bread, and thought to myself “wow” and “yum”. The bread part of her recipe just didn’t sound all that great to me so I didn’t do it. The following recipe is very similar to what RR does plus a bit more oomph and less bread. Although I recommend serving this with nice crusty bread.


1/4 cup of olive oil
4-5 slices Pancetta or thick-cut bacon chopped
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3-4 small ribs celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
6-8 Fresh basil leaves, shredded
Salt and pepper
3-4 sprigs rosemary, (pull the leaves off with one fell swoop by pulling the sprigs against the leaves with your fingers)
7-8 leaves sage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 14.5 oz cans of petite-diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
2 cans cannellini beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed
A few grates of nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to put on top
Optional: Ditalini pasta or some small pasta


Heat your biggest stock-pot to medium or medium-high. Brown the panchetta for a couple of minutes then add the veggies EXCEPT tomatoes, beans and kale. Cook until they begin to get translucent then add the herbs and spices. Cook the veggies and herbs for about five more minutes. At this point it will smell wonderful. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. Now add the stock, tomatoes, beans and the rind of parmesean. This is really essential. It gives the soup a wonderful nutty taste. Cook for an hour on low. Add the kale and put a tight-fitting lid and cook about three or four minutes until the kale is cooked. Kale is super hearty and won’t lose it’s shape or texture even for leftovers. I serve the soup with a metric ton of shredded parm. I shred it myself. I do not recommend the powder. Unless you are a skier or your name is Tom Sizemore. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s one of my favorites of all-time.

Enjoy and happy eating!


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