5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 pound chopped kale or escarole
4 large, thick slices whole-grain bread, toasted
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
Drain the beans; if they’re canned, rinse them as well. Add them to the pot along with tomatoes and their juices and stock, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the soup bubbles steadily; cover and cook, stirring once or twice to break up the tomatoes, 15 to 20 minutes.
Fish out and discard rosemary and thyme stems, if you like, and stir in kale. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lay bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top and overlap as little as possible. Scatter red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.) Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve.
Note: the bread and baking part is optional. I usually skip it and just sprinkle parmajan on the soup when serving.