White Bean Soup
This thick soup from northern Italy is guaranteed to keep out the winter chills
Prep Time: 30M, plus soaking
Cooking Time: 2H
Serves: makes 4-6 servings
- 8oz ( 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 pepper
- 2oz ( 60g) pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3oz ( 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 11/2 hours, stirring, or until the beans are very tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Remove the bay leaf. In batches, with the lid ajar, purée 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.
- soak the beans overnight to rehydrate them
- Prepare ahead: The soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Add stock to thin.
Excerpted from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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