I love to make a fresh pot of soup on a cold day. I usually double this bean soup recipe and let it sit in the refrigerator for one day because soup is always tastier the next day.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, diced
1 ½ cups onions, diced
1 cup leeks, sliced and washed
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Kosher salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ quarts unsalted chicken stock (Kitchen Basics is my favorite)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 (14.5 oz.) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups baby spinach, chiffonade
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until lightly browned and crispy, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Add the onions, leeks, carrots and celery to the pan without draining the oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chicken stock to the pan and stir up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Put the rosemary and thyme and peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth tied with butchers twine. Drop the herbs into the soup along with the bay leaves, parmesan rind, grated parmesan cheese and cannellini beans. Bring to a light boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the herb satchel, bay leaves and parmesan rind. Scoop out about 3 cups of the soup with beans and broth and puree in a separate bowl until smooth. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute. Add the puree back to the pan and mix well. Add ½ of the pancetta to the soup and mix in. Season with kosher salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle the other half of the pancetta pieces over each bowl and serve with toast points and shaved parmesan cheese. Drizzle a little olive oil over each bowl before serving.
SkinnyTip! Omit the olive oil and use olive oil spray. Substitute turkey bacon for the pancetta and use only half of the parmesan cheese.