This thick soup from northern Italy is guaranteed to keep out the winter chills.
Recipe courtesy of "The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell.
|8 oz (225 g) dried cannellini beans||3 or 4 parsley stems|
|3 tbsp olive oil||1 tbsp lemon juice|
|2 onions, finely chopped||salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|2 garlic cloves, minced||2 oz (60 g) pancetta, chopped (optional)|
|5 cups chicken or vegetable stock||3 shallots, thinly sliced|
|1 celery stalk, chopped||3 oz (85 g) 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 1 1/2 hours, stirring, or until the beans are very tender. Stir in the lemon juice.
Remove the bay leaf. In batches, with the lid ajar, puree 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.
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