Once again, I don’t really use recipes, but here are the basics, and my special tip!
You can use any white beans, I prefer dried navy beans – they are slightly larger than some of the other white beans. (You can also use canned beans)
Cook the dried beans in water with a couple of bay leaves and some Italian seasoning, (NO SALT), for a couple of hours, until soft but not falling apart or mushy.
Dice one of each : onion, fennel bulb, carrot, 1 bunch of kale, 2+ garlic cloves, and anything else that sounds good to you. Also chop, or buy already chopped, Pancetta, or you can use bacon, or ham.
Saute onion on low to med heat (never on high!) for a couple minutes, add the pancetta and let it cook a bit, then add the rest of the veggies as you finish chopping them, kale last. Enjoy the aroma!
When beans are almost done, about 1.5 – 2 hours, (at altitude, you may need 2-3 hours!) ladle out 2-3 cups of beans and cooking liquid and puree in a blender, then add back into the pot. You can make the soup more creamy, or chunky, by the ratio of pureed to whole beans.
Now, Time for my Secret ingredient!
To the pot of beans, add the leftover rind from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. Boil the beans and rind for about 20 minutes, until the soup is looking thick and creamy. Remove the rind, and I like to scrape off as much of the melted cheese as possible and add it back into the beans.
Now add in the sauteed veggies, pancetta, and some black pepper. Unless you like a lot of salt, you will not need to add any, the pancetta and parmesan give it plenty of flavor, and saltiness.