2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium fennel bulb (no fronds), cored and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bunches of kale (I like to use arugula)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces spinach linguini or fettuccini, broken into 2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), divided
1. In a large sauce pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, crushed red pepper, 3/4 teaspoon saltand 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves. Roughly chop leaves (discard stalks). Add the kale, beans and linguini to the pot. (If using arugula wait to add.) When the soup returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 8-15 minutes, depending on the type and the brand. Add the arugula, if using just before the pasta is cooked.
3. While the soup cooks, make the parmesan crisps. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. For each crisp, drop 2 teaspoons of cheese into a little mound, making 6 total. Cook the crisps undisturbed for about 5 minutes, or until they bubble, brown, and begin to solidify. Flip over with a thin spatula and cook the other side for 2 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the crisps harden completely.
4. Stir the remaining half cheese into the soup. Adjust seasonings (you will need more salt and pepper). Divide among 6 bowls and float 1 crisp in each. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.