Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Sometimes you just want a nice soup with some garlic bread for dinner, don't you? I love soup - I could eat it every day. I had a few yellow crookneck squash sitting in my fridge, and I wanted soup, so I decided to make a white bean soup with them. Everything is cooked al dente, so that each spoonful bursts in your mouth with flavor. I just love this soup. Its even better with some vegan parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

2 C cooked or canned white beans (try cannelini beans - they are yummy!)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs minced garlic
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil to saute
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 med zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms or 2 oz dried mushrooms, soaked
1 15 oz can of veggie broth
4 C water
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 C soup pasta, pre-cooked al dente

In 5 quart dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the celery and zucchini and saute till toasty. Season with salt and pepper and Herbes de Provence. Add mushrooms and saute till they have released their liquid, or, add dried mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid. Add the beans, tomatoes with their juice, bay leaf, and the veggie broth. Measure the mushroom soaking liquid and add water to make 4 cups. Simmer lightly for 20 minutes for flavors to develop. Taste for salt, pepper and seasoning.

You may cover and refrigerate at this point. To serve, bring to a simmer and drop in about 1 1/2 cups of pre-cooked soup pasta and heat through. Taste for seasonings. Serve with a splash of lemon juice, a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese and garlic toast.

Notes: This is a very forgiving soup - you can use pretty much any combination of vegetables that you have, as long as you cook them al dente and you use a white bean, such as cannellini, great northern, or even navy beans. I think small green limas would be nice also, as well as borlotti or cranberry beans.

For dessert, we had broiled pears with amaretto-apple dip. I'll post that shortly.

Time: 40 minutes in total

Serves about 8

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