Tuscan White Bean Soup

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuscan White Bean Soup
2 T olive oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried sage
1/2 t dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c white wine
1 bay leaf
3 c chicken broth
2 15-oz cans white beans, drained
4 slices pancetta, fried and crumbled (you can substitute bacon if needed)
1/4 c fontina cheese, shredded (you can substitute with just about any white Italian cheese)
4-6 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute about 8-10 minutes, or until onions are translucent and vegetables are softened. Add dried basil, sage, thyme, garlic and white wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add bay leaf, chicken broth and white beans. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 2-4 hours. (Really you can simmer it for as little as 30 minutes, but the flavors are more enhanced the longer it simmers.) About 15 minutes before serving, use an immersion blender to puree the soup(or puree in batches in a blender - but be careful not to burn yourself).
Garnish with crumbled pancetta, fontina and basil leaves.


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