Here I sit at the (usually) hottest part of the year, and as I write it is a cool day, and wet. So we find ourselves wanting Autumnal food. Having made a risotto yesterday, I am using the remainder of the stock to make a white bean soup – luckily I had the forethought to soak the beans overnight. You have to bless the Italians, right? Simple food with great flavours.
This soup is just gorgeous because the beans just seem to float in this gorgeous broth.
White beans are great – versatile for Summer in Salads, and in Winter for Soups, pasta sauces and more hearty dishes. Use cannellini or haricot beans when white beans are specified. Keep them in your pantry year-round.
Other White Bean recipes include: Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts, White Beans and Pita Chips, Florentine Beans, and Tuscan Beans with Sage and Lemon.
White Bean Soup | Zuppa di Fagioli
500 g dried white beans – cannellini or haricot
a pinch of salt
pinch bicarb soda
3 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped finely
3 stalks celery with their tops, chopped finely
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped finely
half bunch parsley, chopped finely
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Soak the beans overnight with the pinch of salt and bicarb soda.
Drain and rinse the beans. Place them in a large saucepan with the tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, chilli. Add the finely chopped stalks of the parsley and half of the finely chopped leaves. (Discard any really tough stalks.)
Add water or light stock to cover sufficiently and simmer, covered, until the beans are cooked. This can take from 45 – 90 mins, depending on the beans.
Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Serve in soup plates, sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley, and accompany the soup with toasted Italian bread.
recipe notes and alternatives
This soup is a good chance to use some of your home made tomato paste or tomato and chilli jam instead of the tomatoes, as well as home made chilli paste (I used this one) instead of the chillies. It certainly makes for extra convenience if you have them! Do not use store-bought tomato paste, though, it has an unpleasant taste.
Don’t skip the olive oil, it adds so much flavour.
Use tinned beans if you wish, for a quick soup, but the taste is better if you cook your own.