Fifteen years ago, I studied Italian cooking in Tuscany. A big-hearted grandmother named Adele taught me how to make this classic soup. She spoke only rapid-fire Italian. My Italian was so-so. We communicated through the universal language of food.
I learned to create the perfect Tuscan bean soup in Signora Adele’s small, cozy kitchen. Tuscany is proud of its cannellini beans, which are really humble white kidney beans. They have a creamy texture and make a wonderful hearty base for soup.
The signora’s secret was adding Parmesan cheese on top. Every Italian grandmother has her own special soup recipe. Nutrient dense, healthy (the beans’ high fiber helps prevent spikes in blood sugar), delicious…Signora Adele’s soup is love in a bowl.
|2 c. soaked or canned cannellini or great northern white beans||2 sprigs fresh or ¼ tsp. dried thyme|
|2 sprigs fresh or ¼ tsp. dried rosemary||4 cloves garlic, smashed|
|¼ tsp. fresh or ⅛ tsp. dried sage||½ tsp. sea salt|
|2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil||¼ tsp. fresh or ⅛ tsp. dried thyme|
|1 ¾ c. yellow onion, finely chopped||⅛ tsp. fresh or pinch of dried sage|
|1 ½ c. carrots, peeled and diced||⅛ tsp. fresh or pinch of dried oregano|
|1 ½ c. celery, diced||8 c. low-sodium chicken stock|
|Sea salt||Parmesan cheese|
|2 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped|
1. Rinse beans and place in a pot. Cover with 3 inches of water and add a sachet of rosemary, sage, thyme and garlic. Bring to boil then cook at low simmer 45 minutes to an hour.
2. When beans are tender but still al dente, add salt to pot. Meanwhile, in large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until golden.
4. Add carrots, celery and ¼ teaspoon salt. Sauté 3 minutes.
5. Add garlic, thyme, sage and oregano, and sauté 2 minutes.
6. Add ¼ cup of chicken stock. Allow liquid to evaporate. Add 6 cups more stock and drained beans. Simmer 20 minutes. Add more stock if necessary.
7. You may add a squeeze of lemon juice or a final pinch of salt for taste. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
It’s okay to use canned beans. Just give them a rinse, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt to freshen them up.
Calories: 410; Total fat: 10 g; Carbohydrates: 49 g; Protein: 19 g; Fiber: 16 g; Sodium: 449 mg