Creamy bean soup

Creamy bean soup

Crema di fagioli

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

I was asked by a few Tuscan women just before I was about to marry one of their own kin if I knew how to make a bean soup. They were very serious and began to give me instructions, as they felt my new husband would be asking for it twice a week and I had better be able to provide it! Ah, how different things are in the UK – this is Giancarlo’s recipe that he cooks for me! For more tips on cooking beans, see the Skills section. We usually have a Parmesan rind or two in the fridge and sometimes a piece of an end of prosciutto or pancetta, which we add to soups – they are all natural flavour enhancers and are often added to Italian soups.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Soffritto, cooked
250g dried borlotti beans, soaked in cold water overnight
2 bay leaves
1 sprig sage
2 garlic cloves, peeled lightly crushed
1-2 level teaspoons salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 parmesan rind, (optional)
small piece prosciutto or unsmoked pancetta rind, (optional)
5 litres Poached chicken & chicken stock
or Vegetable stock
or hot water
1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced, (optional)
good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Method

  1. Spoon the soffritto into a large stock pot and add the drained borlotti beans, bay leaves, sage, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, a generous twist of pepper, and the Parmesan and prosciutto rinds (if using). Put the pan over a gentle heat and add the stock or hot water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2–2 hours or until the beans are cooked through and soft to the bite.
  2. Remove the bay leaves, sage, and Parmesan and prosciutto rinds (if using) with a slotted spoon. Purée the beans in a food processor or with a stick blender and season to taste.
  3. Soak the onion, if using, in cold water for 15 minutes to make them less potent, drain and dry. Serve a few pieces of onion on top of each bowl of soup with a swirl of olive oil and a twist of black pepper.

Variation: Quick Bean Soup

  • To make a quick bean soup from tinned beans, follow the instructions above but add 750 g cooked and drained beans instead of the soaked beans to the soffritto and only 1 litre of stock or hot water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, sage, and Parmesan and prosciutto rinds (if using), and blend as above.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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