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Florentine White Bean Soup

This quick version of the classic Italian soup uses canned cannellini beans, so the dish comes together in about 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (each 14 1/2 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Sauté the vegetables
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. When it is hot, add the pancetta and sauté until it browns slightly, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the onion and carrots and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Finish the soup
Stir in the tomato paste, mixing well. Add the broth and beans. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted and the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).