Cavolo Nero and Borlotti Bean Soup

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


This recipe for the classic Tuscan soup is based on one in The River Cafe Cook Book by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers (Ebury Press, 1995).


  • 14 cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 6 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 lb. cavolo nero, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 (14-oz.) cans borlotti beans, drained
  • 1 stale crustless loaf ciabatta bread (about 3⁄4 lb. whole)


Step 1

Heat 1⁄4 cup of oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add parsley leaves, celery, cloves garlic, carrots, onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until light brown, 15–20 minutes.

Step 2

Crush tomatoes; add to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until thickened, 25–30 minutes. Add cavolo nero, 2 cans of the beans, and 1 gallon water. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, until cavolo nero is tender, about 30 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, purée remaining 1 can of beans and 1⁄2 cup water in a food processor; stir into pot. Tear bread into 1" pieces; add to pot with remaining 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until thick, about 30 minutes. Serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

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