Also known as “Tuscan Bean Soup,” this is a real crowd pleaser. I’ve tripled this recipe and fed nearly 50 people with it at our annual Christmas open house party.
I got this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, but incorporated a few short cuts so you can make this in about 1 1/2 hours. Using a food processor to chop all of the vegetables also helps make the work go faster.
The taste is sweet and a little sour with a punch of heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a great, hearty soup on a cold winter night.
- 1 large can of cannellini beans (about 19 oz.)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 1/4 pound diced pancetta
- 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 onions)
- 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
- 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon salt (I always use Kosher as it’s the most flavorful.)
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28 oz.) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
- 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (preferably the imported Parmesan Reggiano), for serving
- Step 1 Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.
- Step 2 Add the pancetta and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. (Stir occasionally)
- Step 3 Add the carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. (Stir occasionally)
- Step 4 Add the tomatoes with the puree, the kale, and basil. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. (Stir occasionally)
- Step 5 Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water. Puree half of them in a food processor with about 1/2 cup of water.
- Step 6 Add pureed beans to the soup. And then add the remaining half of the whole beans. And stir.
- Step 7 Add the eight cups of chicken stock.
- Step 8 Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Step 9 Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
- Step 10 Serve hot in large bowls. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. And then drizzle a little olive oil over it.