- 2 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed - or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese rind
- 1 bunch red or white Swiss chard
- 1/4 cup uncooked small pasta, such as orzo or pastina
- 5 large fresh sage leaves, minced
- 5 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, divided (optional)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon, onion, garlic, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and cannellini beans, and bring the mixture to a boil; stir in sun-dried tomatoes and the piece of Parmesan cheese rind. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook while you prepare the chard, about 10 minutes.
Cut the stems from the chard, and slice the stems into pieces about 3/4-inch long. Cut the chard leaves into 1-inch wide ribbons. Stir the chard stems and pasta into the soup, setting aside the leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer, and gently simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir the chard leaves, sage, and basil into the soup, and simmer just until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.