Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!
Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.
This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.
Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions – chopped small
2 sticks of celery – chopped small
3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small
4 tbsp parsley – chopped
1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped
350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference
570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)
150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)
salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
- Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
- Add the beans and mix in.
- Cook gently for 10 minutes.
- These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
- The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
- Add half the stock and let it meld in.
- Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
- It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
- Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
- If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
- Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.
(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)