It has been kind of cold and drizzly lately, which makes me want to hibernate and make soup. My first soup of the rainy season was a Tuscan white bean soup. It’s lovely and comforting, and really easy to make.
The whole point of making the soup is to eat cannellini beans. Cannellini beans are white Italian beans, and when cooked, they’ve got a slightly creamy texture to them. The most reliable place to find them is in Italian supermarkets, where they’re sold dried. You may or may not be able to buy them at your local supermarket, in which case I’d love to know where. I haven’t had any luck, which is why I’m telling you to go to the Italian supermarket. If you’re in Vancouver, any half-decent shop on Commercial Drive will probably have them. I go to Bosa Foods on Victoria Drive.
Start by soaking the beans overnight. The next day, drain the beans and set them aside. Slice up four small onions (try not to weep) and saute them in a stockpot with a bit of olive oil. After about 10 minutes they’ll be translucent, and then you can add a few cloves of chopped garlic, and a couple of sprigs of rosemary. Add in the drained, soaked beans, a bay leaf, and enough liquid to cover all the goodies in your pot. I use a mixture of half chicken stock and half water, but you can use whatever liquid you like. Bring the mixture to a boil, skim off the nasty foamy stuff, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the beans are tender.
Now, the soup is meant to be blended but chunky. Whether you choose to use a blender, food processor or food mill, please don’t over-blend it. Actually, a few gentle touches of the “pulse” button should do just fine. It’s not a fancy restaurant kind of soup, it’s an Italian grandmother in your kitchen kind of soup.
Season the soup with salt and pepper, and serve it piping hot with some crusty bread. It’ll make you glad you’re inside, listening to the raindrops on the windows.