White Bean Soup
This thick soup from northern Italy is guaranteed to keep out the winter chills.
Soak the beans overnight to rehydrate them.
The soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Add stock to thin.
Preparation Time30 min
Preparation Time - Text30 mins, plus soaking
Cooking Time2 min
Cooking Time - Text120
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturesavory
Type of Dishhot soup
- 8 oz (225g) dried cannellini beans
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 3 or 4 parsley stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black peppe4
- 2 oz (60g) pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 oz (85g) Italian fontina or taleggio
Soak the beans in cold water to cover overnight. Drain.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the drained beans, stock, celery, parsley, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer about 1½ hours, stirring, or until the beans are very tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
Remove the bay leaf. In batches, with the lid ajar, purèe the soup in a blender. Return to the pan and season. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta (if using) and cook, stirring, 5 minutes, until browned. Stir in the shallots and cook 3 minutes, until softened.
Trim off any rind from and dice the cheese. Stir into the soup. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with the pancetta mixture. Serve hot.
2008 Dorling Kindersley