I decided that, over the winter, I was going to learn how to make soups. The problem I have with learning to cook new things is that, when I find a recipe I like I make it over and over and over and over and end up only learning how to make a couple of things. On the up-side I did learn this: To make good soup you have to start with a good base, whether that is a stock, broth or whatever. With that base, the soup is yours to screw up.
- 1 cup dry cannellini beans
- 2 quarts plus one cup water
- 1 tblsp dry crushed rosemary
- ½ to 1 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 large bunch Italian flat parsley (or two small bunches)
- 4 large carrots
- 5 stalks celery, including tops
- 2 big cans San Marzano tomatoes (You can substitute an equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes. If you do, do yourself a favor and use heirloom tomatoes.)
- Salt and pepper
- Any other veggies you would like to add (mushrooms, squash, whatever. It’s all good, baby.)
Put the beans in a pan and cover with the water and let soak for 24 hours.
- Remove the leaves from the parsley and chop and set aside.
- Slice up the carrots and set aside.
- Slice up the celery, including the tops/leaves and set aside.
- Prepare the other desirable veggies and set aside.
- Put the beans, water, rosemary and garlic in a large pot. I like to use cast iron.
- Bring to a medium simmer and let simmer for about half an hour.
- Reduce heat to low simmer.
- Add parsley, carrots, celery and tomatoes.
- Let simmer for about half an hour.
- Add olive oil. (I add a full cup, and sometimes a little more, but you can add whatever you are comfortable with, which is why is used a range above.)
- Let simmer for an hour and a half.
- It is a good idea to squish up the tomatoes and let the soup get real tomatoey.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Use can use two quarts of chicken broth instead of water (In the cooking only, not in the soaking. Definitely soak the beans in water then drain the water).
You can eat the soup freshly made, but it tastes even better when refrigerated overnight. In any case, I like to add some small shell pasta when I warm the soup and let it cook to the appropriate tenderness. This (along with some awesome bread) makes for a real good, filling meal.
You can also add some shredded Napa cabbage.