Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup Recipe for Fall

Perhaps you too are thinking about Daylight. Here in Italy, Time Changes Today, meaning that Daylight Savings Time had officially ended. We have either “gained” an hour of daylight in the morning or “lost” an hour of daylight in the evening. As if Time could stay still, even for a minute. Not everyone follows this rule - the USA, for example, ends DST next Sunday, November 7, at 2am. The European Union is considering abolishing it, but that, again, takes time.

So, shadows will be cast a bit differently, but how much it will matter we do not know. By now, most olives have been harvested (October was an incredibly splendid month this year), and new Tuscan oil is flowing freely down thick slices of toasted Tuscan bread (a pinch of salt needed, since Tuscan bread is saltless). All the fall vegetables are drenched in new Tuscan oil. So many types in the cabbage family: three different kinds of cavolfiore (cauliflower), cavolo verza (Savoy cabbage), cavolo nero (black cabbage), cavolo broccolo (broccoli), cavolo broccolo romanesco (also called broccoli romano - known for it fractals), cavolo riccio (kale) and many others.

And now the first agrumi are arriving from Sicily, the sweetest clementini, which are wonderful in a wild greens salad, doused in Tuscan oil.

Stop me if I’m writing too much about food. But if you’ve been to Italy, you know how much food matters, how much it’s talked about, talking about dinner when we’re having lunch, talking about lunch when we’re having dinner. Drizzling a circle of oil on the ribollita or minestrone. Or the Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup from the Tuscan Sun Cookbook. I’ve already made a batch with this harvest’s oil. Try it when your case arrives!


Kale goes by another name, one much more dashing, especially in Italian, Cavolo Nero, black cabbage, may not evoke super-hero status, but it’s close. Kale does seem invincible and it’s known to make the eater more so too. It’s also called dinosaur kale (also lacinato), maybe because its leaves look like the back of a lizard. Those thin knobby leaves squeak. Do not confuse cavolo, accent on the first syllable, with cavallo, accent on the second, or you’ll be ordering Black Horse, and in certain parts of the world will find it. Hearty and good for the spirit. I like soaked and cooked cannellini better than canned ones.

2 Italian sausages, skins removed and meat crumbled
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup white wine
6 thyme sprigs
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
4 cups cooked cannellini beans

Sauté the crumbled sausage in the oil until browned, and reserve.  Sauté the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.  Add to the chicken stock in a big pot.  Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, then add the thyme and kale.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the sausage and beans and simmer until 15 minutes.

Photo credit: Steven Rothfeld