Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
1 lb dried white beans
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 qt water
1 piece (3" x 2") Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb sausage, optional
8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces
1 lb kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
Cover beans with water by 2" in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
In an 8 quart pot, cook onions in oil over moderately low heat until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, while stirring. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary; simmer uncovered about 50 minutes or until the beans are just tender.
While soup is simmering, use a heavy skillet to brown sausage (if using) in batches over moderate heat, turning; transfer to paper towels to drain.
Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart of water; simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season soup with salt and pepper.