Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Seventy: Italian Favorites

by Williams-Sonoma

    White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan

The rains have begun and I was in the mood for something comforting. This soup sounded perfect, along with Jalapeño-Jack Scones from the same book as my last post.

It was late afternoon before I decided on this soup, so I did not have time to soak the dry beans for the 3 hours that they require, so I substituted canned white beans. I also had some leeks in the refrigerator I wanted to use up, so I switched out the onion for the leeks. I felt I had extra beans so I also added the extra one cup broth I had leftover; I think this was a mistake for my soup did not look as thick, hearty and satisfying as the photo in the book. I feel my version of this soup was a total dud.

The scones on the other hand were really good - and could have been made even better by using a higher quality cheese; I only had one choice at my local chain supermarket.

Even the picture is unappetizing.

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan
Serves 6

1 ½ cups dried small white (navy) beans
3 Tbl olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
7 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth or water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Pick over the beans, discarding any stones or misshapen beans. Rinse the beans. Place in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and soak for about 3 hours. Drain the beans and set aside.

In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the drained beans and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place one-third of the bean mixture in a blender or food processor. Process to a smooth purée. Return the purée to the soup and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed individual bowls. Garnish with the Parmesan and parsley and serve immediately.

Italian Favorites/Williams-Sonoma

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