I revamped the below entry after experimenting further with the soup.Changes are in bold.
As I had some friends over on a random Tuesday night--I made Antipasto to start out with, and it was a heavy spread (see post: DINNER DATE IN A HURRY). So I wanted to follow up with something light, and as importantly, something that I could make fairly quickly AFTER enjoying the Antipasto and finishing up the wine.
I borrowed this recipe from Giada de Lauretiis, it's her "Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup". I, of course, tweaked it a little. You can get the original recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com/. I added pancetta for flavoring and because pancetta releases so much fat, I did away with any use of Butter that Giada recommends. Also I quadrupled the amount of sage (4 leaves) and rosemary (2 to 3 sprigs). I reduced the amount of chicken stock she recommends (4 cups) to 2 and 1/2 cups because it was way too watery the first time I made it and I didn't use all 4 cups either! To further alleviate the wateriness, I added another can of Cannelloni Beans, bringing the total for the recipes up to 3 15 oz. cans. Also, I was about to use some dry white wine as well (as I think this is the secret to good soups), but while I was cooking and talking with my friends, I forgot to add this! So this time when I made the soup, I used a Dark Beer (only thing I had on hand, but hey, beans & beer are a great combination!) so I added about 1/3 of a bottle of beer, so about 4 oz. or 1/2 a cup. I think it added some depth that the initial soup was lacking. I also added a Parmesan Rind the pot to simmer when you add the Chicken Stock. Otherwise a very tame, light soup, appropriate for a Spring night. Here is the revised recipe, all changes in bold.
TUSCAN WHITE BEAN SOUP
1/4 lb pancetta, cubed
2 to 3 sprig's worth of Fresh Rosemary
4 to 6 leaves of Sage, very chopped
3 to 4 shalllots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, halved
1 tablespoon of butter---NO BUTTER NEEDED because of the fat from Pancetta
2 tablespoons of EVOO
Salt & Pepper
1 Parmesan Rind
2.5 to 3 cups of Chicken Stock
3 oz. of Cream---ALSO REDUCED CREAM
3 15 oz cans of Cannelloni Beans
- In Pot (make sure it holds at least 8 cups of liquid) heat tablespoon of EVOO over medium/medium-low heat. Add cubed pancetta. Allow this to cook and the fat to render from pancetta for about 2 minutes.
- Add chopped Shallot to the pot and saute for about 3 minutes or until the shallots are translucent. Season only with a few pinches of Salt, NOT Pepper.
- Add the Fresh Rosemary & Fresh Sage. Saute for about 30 seconds, just to incorporate.
- Add the 3 cans of Beans (drained), mix and coat the oil with the beans.
- Add 1/2 cup of Dark Beer. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Add 2 to 3 cups of chicken stock to the pot & the 8 halves of garlic cloves as well as a Parmesan Rind. Bring to a boil.
- Allow this to simmer for at least 10 minutes. No more than 15 is needed.
- Using your food processor or blender start to blend the entire soup in batches---BE CAREFUL HOT LIQUIDS EXPAND WHEN BLENDED, so please do not fill to the top! If you have an IMMERSION BLENDER this would the be the ideal recipe for it! Do not worry if all the Rosemary & Sage do not get blended. You might have big pieces of the herbs, but that's OK.
- Once all is blended, place back in pot & add 1/2 cup (4 oz.) of Cream & Pepper. Allow to bring to a boil again just for a moment to allow everything to incorporate evenly.
- Serve with Crusty Bread, toasted with EVOO.