White Bean Soup

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.

White Bean Soup

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    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


    Prep: 30 min Total:
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    • 1

      Soak the beans in cold water to cover overnight. Drain.

    • 2

      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.

    • 3

      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.

    • 4

      Remove the bay leaf. In batches, with the lid ajar, puree the soup in a blender. Return to the pan and season. Keep warm.

    • 5

      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.

    • 6

      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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