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White Bean Soup

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Serves: 4
175g / 6oz dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover
1.7 litres / 3 pints chicken or vegetable stock
115g / 4oz dried corallini, conchigliette piccole or other soup pasta
6 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley salt and pepper
crusty bread, to serve

Drain the soaked beans and place them in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Partially cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 2 hours, or until tender.

Transfer about half the beans and a little of the stock to a food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree. Return the puree to the saucepan and stir well to mix. Return the soup to the boil.

Add the pasta to the soup, return to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over a low heat stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes, or until golden. Stir the garlic into the soup and add the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into warmed soup bowls. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately with crusty bread.

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