In the Soup

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

It comes on suddenly—the first whiff of autumn, when you begin to acknowledge the sound of crickets you’ve been hearing, find yourself reaching for a light sweater and thinking to yourself, wouldn’t a bowl of soup taste good for supper? Summer, it would seem, is now in the soup. After all those salad days of August , the idea of a hot, brothy one-pot meal seems a revelation. But just as the landscape is loath to lose all its green just yet, so is this end-of-summer soup, filled with fresh zucchini and hearty greens paired with plump beans. The broth takes on a rich, nutty flavor imparted by simmering the hard rind of real parmesan cheese in the soup, a frugal Italian tip you’ll want to use again and again. Fortifying the soup with a bit of sausage lends more flavor and heartiness, but you can do without it if you prefer. Either way, this is a great late-summer soup you’ll really fall for.

 

Beans and Greens Soup

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound sweet Italian sausage

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced ¼-inch thick

2 cups cooked fresh shell beans, such as cranberry beans, or a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups chicken stock

4 cups water

4 ounces fresh kale, spinach or other leafy greens, chopped

1 parmesan rind (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut into wedges

freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

 

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the zucchini and sauté until softened but not browned.  Stir in the beans, stock, water, kale and parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot, passing the lemon wedges and parmesan separately.

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