From Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen
If you’re using dried beans – soak them the night before
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
3 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked in water overnight or use 2-3 cans (19oz/540ml) drained and rinsed
1 large red onion, peeled & coarsely chopped
½ cup fruity olive oil
½ cup prepared tomato sauce
1 quart/1 litre chicken broth, plus extra if you like a thinner soup
Salt & pepper to taste
Ruth’s options: 1 cup chopped kale or Swiss chard leaves, stems removed & coarsely chopped, 1 cup smoked chorizo or other favorite smoked sausage, diced, pinch or two of your favorite dried herb (I used oregano this time out)
1. If you are using dried beans, they need to be rinsed and soaked the night before with a final rinse before adding them to the pot. Then the day of… use a large, heavy bottomed soup pot and add the drained soaked beans and enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 tsp salt and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the skins slip off the beans easily about 40 minutes or so (not necessary with canned). Drain and set aside.
2. (or 1 if you are using canned beans). In the same pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes or so. Add the beans, tomato sauce and chicken stock. Ruth’s note: this would be the time to get creative if you like, adding a pinch or two of your favorite herb, if it’s handy and perhaps a 1 or so of some leafy green like spinach, kale or Swiss chard, leaves only, coarsely chopped, ….). Stir to combine and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
2. Puree the beans with an immersion blender ( I actually just pureed the soup in the pot) and pulse until the soup is mostly smooth with some chunks left for texture).
(Ruth's note: I actually quickly sauteed some diced smoked chorizo sausage that I added after I pureed the soup for an interesting twist.)
Serve the soup in warm bowls with a drizzle of good olive oil and a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if you like.