I adore soup. It's creative, fancy or simple, handy for feeding lots of people, and so very comforting; quite often, soup can be thrifty too. I make soup whenever it's chilly or rainy - in fact, I get confused in hot weather because I don't have an equivalent (ice cream? corn on the cob? hmmmm).
I have lots of favorite soups. Tuscan Bean Soup is one of them. I created it from a hodge podge of ideas and recipes and I doubt the people of Tuscany would claim it.
Tuscan Bean Soup - a plan with guesstimates - the times are very sketchy, so make the soup in the afternoon and if it has to sit waiting on the back of the stove, no problem: turn the burner on again to warm it up for dinner
Put 1-2 cups white beans on to soak (overnight is best, but a shorter soaking just means longer cooking - fine for a dreary, cold day)
Cook them until they are very soft with a chopped onion or two. Do not add anything salty or acidic or they will not get soft. Add a pinch or two of dry red pepper flakes. If you have it, add the heel or rind of parmesano reggiano - just a chunk to cook its buttery richness into the soup.
Add a bunch of greens, washed and chopped (kale, collards, spinach, or chard). When they are mostly soft, add lots of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. The beans should be mostly disintegrated now and the soup should be thick. A few minutes later, check to be sure the garlic flavor is present. It's ready to serve, but wait: add the juice of a half lemon. Taste it and maybe add a little more. Perhaps a drizzle of olive oil.
Eat with hearty bread with a slice of cheese. Or cornbread, as shown here. Mmmmmm, soup.
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