Winter comfort: zuppa di cannellini (white bean soup)
|November 17, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under beans, country, Italian, sage, soup, soups, vegetables, vegetarian|
Winter is here… and so are colder days, longer and darker nights, blankets, wood fires and comfort soups.
While I have spend much of the last couple of months consumed in a blogging contest (you know which one…), I still live and cook as usual, especially over the week-ends. I just have not had time to post some of the dishes I have prepared. But here is one that you can make easily and will provide you with a warm “belly hug”. My nonna Amelia (I am named after her), who is no longer with us, would make this country soup especially for me (in the summer with fresh shelled beans: borlotti or “spollichini”, in the winter with dried and soaked ones). I have 24 cousins and many aunts and uncles, but she always remembered everyone’s favorite foods!
While this is a vegetarian version, you can certainly double up the flavor by adding some diced pancetta to the onions (or a ham bone to the soup), and by using chicken stock instead of water.I think it is perfect as it is!
Leave the soup on your stove on low while you enjoy a walk outside (this is key) and when you walk back inside the aromas will wrap you up in a wonderful homey feeling. It will also ail a winter cold.
Serve with slices of good crusty Italian bread, slightly toasted, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Zuppa di cannellini (white bean soup)
2 cups dried cannellini beans
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
Chili pepper TT
2 small tomatoes, diced
a few leaves fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread (like ciabatta), to serve
(Optional: a drizzle of fresh olive oil to serve)
Soak the beans overnight. The next day, drain the beans and discard any stones.
Place the beans in a large pan of water, bring to a boil and cook for about twenty minutes, skimming any impurities. Drain them in a colander.
Heat the oil in the same large pan (quickly dried off). Stir in the onion and garlic and cook softened. Add the carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chili pepper, to taste, and tomato. Add the drained beans. Cover with water (a few fingers over the beans) and bring to boil again. Add bay leaves and cook until the beans are tender, 1-2 hours or until done (stirring and adding boiling water throughout the cooking, if needed). Remove the bay leaves. Puree about a quarter of the soup (I use a hand-held blender) and then put them back into the soup. Stir in the sage. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 more minutes.Serve in individual soup bowls, sprinkled with a little freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and crusty bread. If you wish (and I like this!) drizzle the soup with a few drops of very good extra virgin olive oil.