Tuscan Bean Soup with Prosciutto and Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Published by Knopf
This is a take on pasta e fagiole, the classic Tuscan bean and pasta soup, but without the pasta. Where the homemade version is thickened as a result of the beans being cooked for hours, I created a rich, creamy base by pur–eing some of the beans. I felt the soup needed a fresh vegetable, so I used Napa cabbage because it cooks very quickly and adds a slightly sweet flavor. Finally, I added fresh herbs and then topped the soup with prosciutto, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Cooking Time25 min
Cooking Time - Text25
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursehot appetizer
Dietary Considerationhot appetizer
Equipmentblender, food processor
Taste and Texturecheesy, herby, salty, savory
Type of Dishhot soup
- 4 15-ounce cans creamy beans (such as giant white beans, borlotti beans, or cannellini beans), not drained (about 6 cups)
- 6 large garlic cloves, grated or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 4 large fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage (about ¼ head)
- High-quality extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Parmigiano-Reggiano wedge, for grating
- 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
Combine the beans and their liquid with the garlic, salt, thyme, basil, and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to meld the flavors. Remove about 1½ cups of the beans, returning any garlic or basil to the saucepan. Use an immersion blender to purée the remaining beans in the pot until smooth. (Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly then transfer it to a blender or food processor and purée, holding the lid down tight so the hot liquid doesn't splatter out.) Stir in the reserved beans and cabbage and thin the soup with water if necessary. Cook the soup over medium heat until the cabbage wilts and is slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
Divide the soup evenly among four large soup plates or bowls, filling them to just below the rim. Drizzle each serving with high-quality olive oil and grate a thin layer of Parmesan cheese over them. Tear one slice of the prosciutto into a few pieces and rumple the pieces onto one bowl of soup; repeat with the remaining prosciutto slices.
2007 Nancy Silverton