1 quart chicken stock (4 cups)
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5-6 cups packed sliced cavolo nero (also called Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale or lacinato kale)
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup mini penne or mezzi rigatoni pasta
One can white or cannellini beans (15 ounces), rinsed
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Ciabatta bread, for mopping
In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock and porcinis. Simmer until the porcinis are tender, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until hot. Crumble in the sausage, then add the onion and garlic and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the porcinis from the stock and chop; stir into the soup. Stir in the stock and 2 cups water, then cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the soup and cook until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the beans and heat through. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of cheese on top and the bread for mopping.