By the time college football season starts and the afternoons are crisp, I’m ready for soup! I think on most weekends there is a pot of something on my stove on Saturday afternoon. I love the coziness of that bubbling pot against the backdrop of a game on TV and I love that there are often leftovers for lunch during the week!
This soup, however, doesn’t need to simmer all day. In fact, you can bang the whole thing out in about 40 minutes start to finish and it can even be made vegetarian by omitting the pancetta. Buy good broth/stock for this – it makes a difference!
Simple Tuscan White Bean Soup
makes 4-6 servings
1 – 1 oz. slice of pancetta, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional, but this does enhance the flavor)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (increase to 2 if omitting the pancetta)
1 small onion, medium diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 1/2 cups good quality low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1. Cook the pancetta in a large stockpot over medium heat until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside the pancetta and add the oil to the pot along with the rendered pancetta fat.
2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the beans, salt, and chicken broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Submerge the rosemary in the liquid, cover the pot, and let stand off the heat for 20 minutes.
4. Discard the rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil if desired. You can even top it with the bit of pancetta you started with if you’d like.