Tuscan White Bean Soup

Italy does simplicity well. And it does simplicity deliciously, especially when it comes to food like white bean soup. With only eight major ingredients, this soup, accompanied by crusty bread and Parmesan shavings can be a whole meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices bacon, roughly chopped into squares
1 medium or large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, diced
2 sage leaves
3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
4 cups chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

GARNISHES
slices of ciabatta or other crusty bread
shaved Parmesan
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings (8 cups)

COURSE: Soups and Stews

CUISINE: Italian

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon squares, and olive oil. Cook, until the bacon takes on a golden colour. Add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
    Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth, using a hand held blender. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Add the cream, salt and the pepper Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.
    Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the slices of ciabatta bread with extra-virgin olive oil. Grill the bread until warm and golden grill marks appear, about 3 minutes a side. Serve the soup in bowls with the grilled bread alongside.