This soup is very comforting, delicious, and healthy too as the cannellini beans are used to thicken the soup rather than using heavy cream as many other soups do. Cannellini beans are nutrient rich, high in fiber, and just 1/2 cup of beans provides 7 grams of protein, the same amount as in 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish making beans a great source of protein for vegetarians.
Fresh rosemary, onions, and pancetta help develop the flavors in this soup, bringing the beans to life. However, if you want to keep the soup vegetarian (or vegan), skip the addition of pancetta and use vegetable, not chicken broth.
This soup freezes well so make a double batch if you want. After storing in the refrigerator or freezer the soup does thicken up, but you can quickly fix this by adding a little extra broth or even water to thin the soup when reheating it. This soup is quite filling, so it can easily serve as a main course. Just add a loaf of crusty Italian bread with a crisp salad of mixed greens to complete the meal.
yield: serves 4
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
In a heavy bottomed stockpot over medium flame, heat the oil until lightly smoking.
Add the onion, garlic, and pancetta, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and the pancetta has browned, about 8 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve, removing 1 1/2 cups of the beans for later.
To the onions and pancetta, add the beans, broth, salt, pepper, oregano, and chopped rosemary.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Cool the mixture to barely warm, then puree in a blender until creamy and smooth.
If the soup is too thick, add additional broth until desired thickness has been achieved.
Return the soup to the pot, add the reserved beans, and cook on medium low heat until hot.
Serve in individual bowls with toppings and enjoy!
Photo & Recipe: Deborah Mele, Italian Food Forever