For a meaty variation, brown some fresh sweet or spicy Italian sausages (about
3/4 pound or 340 grams) with the vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large or 2 regular carrots, diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white or red wine (optional)
- 4 ounces (115 grams) curly kale leaves, chopped or torn
- 2 1/4 cups (550 grams) crushed tomatoes (28-ounce or 800-gram can minus 1 cup; reserve the rest for another use)
- 1 pound (455 grams) cooked firm-tender giant white beans
- Up to 3/4 cup (175 ml) vegetable broth
- 1/2 pound (225 grams) mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 1/3 cup (35 grams) grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons (5 grams) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
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Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sautéing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup at a time. Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.
If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. If it is, well, carry on.
Bake: Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper color, you can run it under the broiler. Finish with parsley, if desired.