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Tuscan Kale and Bread Soup
Makes 8 to 10 cups, serving 6

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From Mediterranean Grains and Greens

1 cup dried cannellini beans, Roman beans, or borlotti beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
3 large slices dried porcini mushroom
1 ounces pancetta, chilled or frozen
cup olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound Tuscan kale, or pound tender kale and pound Savoy cabbage
cup tomato puree
Pinch of mixed spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
12 slices dense country bread, grilled or toasted and rubbed generously with garlic clove
A cruet of extra-virgin olive oil
1. Pick over the beans. In a large saucepan, soak the beans overnight in cold water to cover.
2. Drain the beans and cover with 2 quarts fresh cold water. Add the rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook at the simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Midway add teaspoon salt. Discard the herb sprig.
3. Wash and soak the mushroom slices in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes. Shred the pancetta to make about cup.
4. Heat cup olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, wash the kale and strip the leaves from the stems. Finely chop the leaves; add to the saucepan and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, soaking liquid, 1 teaspoon salt, the tomato puree, and the mixed spices and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Push half the cooked beans through a food mill fitted with a fine blade, or puree them in a food processor. Add the pureed beans, whole beans, and about 6 cups of the cooking liquid to the saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (The soup can be prepared earlier in the day up to this point. When cool, cover and set in a cool place until ready to reheat, 20 minutes before serving.)
7. Correct the seasoning of the soup with salt and plenty of black pepper and reheat to boiling. Place slices of grilled bread in a 3-quart soup tureen made of earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain and pour on the hot soup. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Pass a cruet of extra-virgin olive oil at the table.