Beautiful, hearty, soup–rustic in flavor and perfect to take the chill out of a winter day or night. I love soup as a meal. Just mix with salad and crusty bread and you’re good to go; it’s so satisfying. If you’re looking for a vegetarian meal, take out pancetta. If you don’t care, leave it in because it adds a real bite to the soup. Of course, by now you have an immersion blender but if you still haven’t gotten one, you’ll use the blender.
I always suggest the Le Creuset dutch oven because it is the best pot for preparing winter favorites such as soup and stews, and it’s the best pot I’ve ever found for braising meats. I have one in Colorado and one in New York and wouldn’t dream of cooking without it. The Le Creuset distributes the heat slowly and evenly, ensuring picture perfect results almost every time. If you’re getting married, register for one. If you’re a mother, ask for one for Mother’s Day! It’s a perfect gift…and I’m not even being paid by the company!
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces chopped pancetta (it’s available in almost all supermarkets, chopped in a 4 oz. package)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans ( 15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
3/4 tsp. finely chopped thyme (fresh)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (parmesan cheese)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large Dutch oven pot (Le Creuset) over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp. olive oil. Cook pancetta for about 5 minutes. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Add garlic, and cook for another minute. Add beans, broth and thyme, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Off the heat, puree with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in cheese if you’d like, and then salt and black pepper. I add a pinch of red pepper flakes, but it’s totally optional.
So simple, so elegant, so delicious.