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Broccoli Rabe and White Bean Soup with toasted whole country bread and parmesan cheese

Author's Notes: "When I parboil broccoli rabe soup before sautéing it, I always come away feeling it's a pity not to use the liquid. So here it is, with the greens, lots of garlic, a bit of hot pepper, and cannelloni beans--canned in this case. This soup is full of big, bold flavors, and it can be made literally in minutes. Served with an accompaniment of garlic-rubbed whole wheat toast, this soup is best eaten soon after it's made.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Author Deborah Madison


  • Big bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra oil for finishing
  • 1 onion quartered and sliced crosswise
  • 3 garlic cloves 2 coarsely chopped, 1 halved
  • 1 or 2 pinches of hot red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • Chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
  • One 15-ounce can organic cannelloni beans
  • 4 slices whole wheat country bread
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano or Asiago cheese


  1. Cut the bulk of the stems off the broccoli rabe, but don't discard them. Chop the leaves coarsely, wash them well, and set aside in a colander. Using a paring knife, pull the tough fibers off the stems, then chop them into small pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a wide soup pot. When hot, add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and pepper flakes, cook for a minute or so longer, then add the greens and the stems. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, toss around the pan until wilted, then add 5 cups water and the chunk of cheese rind. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the beans, simmer for 15 minutes, then taste for salt.
  3. Toast the bread and rub it with the halved garlic clove. Unless you prefer to serve it on the side, break or cut it into pieces and lay them in the bottom of each bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the grated cheese over the bread, then add the beans, broth, and greens. Thread a little oil into each serving and add the rest of the cheese.