Friday, January 29, 2010

Mangia Italiano!

A dear and close friend of mine is of Italian heritage. While on a trip to her family's home area in Italy last fall, she had the warm, comfort-food pleasure of a hearty dish of kale, potatoes, and white beans. This is her recreation of that dish.



  • 1 qt good flavored vegetable broth
  • 4-6 redskin potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2-3 c chopped lacinato kale
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t. sage
  • 1 t. rosemary
  • olive oil
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c. parsley
  • 2-4 T. basil
  • hard crusted bread, toasted, buttered and cubed


In oil, saute onion, garlic, parsley, and basil. Add broth, bring to a simmer, and add potato cubes. Cook until almost tender. Add beans, kale and remaining ingredients. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes to finish potatoes and kale. Mixture should be thicker than a soup.

Place toasted, cubed bread in bottom of bowls, ladle soup over bread, and serve.

Mangia Italiano!


I didn't have all the ingredients, so I made a few very small changes...

  • I used curly kale rather than lacinato because that's what I had.
  • I didn't have parsley so I left it out.
  • I used Yukon Gold potatoes, because, again, it's what I had. I know, redskins hold up better with this kind of cooking, but I was using what I had.
  • I cubed some challah bread and used it without toasting and buttering. I would love good crusty Italian bread with this but it's not to be had where I live at the moment.

I'm sure you could use other white beans but the cannellini beans are readily available so I used them. It was my first time trying them and all I can say is, yum! They're really tasty, slightly nutty in flavor, and are now very high on my comfort-food list.

The soup is excellent reheated.

The soft bread (and I'm sure the toasted, buttered bread) was a small extravagance but was less bread than I'd eat if I had a slice on the side (I used about 1/2 slice in the bowl) and definitely added to the comfort-food appeal of the dish. The flavorful broth soaked up in the bread and was delicious. The bread could be omitted, or you could brush the toasted bread with olive oil instead of butter if you like.

Also, this dish reminded me a bit of my mother's Southern roots, and I tried it with sweet potatoes instead of white, and cornbread on the side -- wonderful, flavorful variation that uses the much-more healthful sweet potato.

No matter how you serve it, it's a delicious, hearty cold-weather dish that satisfies and comforts.

As they say in Italy (unless my free on-line translator is wrong!), il cuoco, mangia, balla, ama!