Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (sometimes I use 2)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (see note)
1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
- Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 6 to 10 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in greens and tomatoes. Cover pot and continue to simmer about 30 minutes or until greens are fully tender.
- Add rosemary sprig to stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.
If pancetta is unavailable, substitute 4 ounces of bacon (about 4 slices).
For a more substantial dish, serve the stew over toasted bread.