Fall has arrived with its cooler temperatures, so it is finally time to get my soup pot out and get busy. I do love fall, and here in Umbria, the trees behind our property are just turning yellow, soon to turn red, and our olives are ripening and turning black in preparation for the olive harvest which will take place later this month. Although the daytime temperatures are still pleasant, the nights are cooler, and you can begin to smell fireplaces being lit in order to keep the stone homes warm and cozy. This time of year, I love making big pots of healthy soups that I freeze in containers for us to enjoy at lunch over the coming months. I add lots of veggies into my soups, along with whole grains or legumes, to make my soups heartier, fiber-rich, and to add some protein. There are so many varieties of soups you can make that I never get bored. Some soups have a base of rich vegetable or meat broth, while other soups are creamy and thick like this one simply by puree some of the ingredients and adding them back into the pot.
I have been testing out cooking dried beans with my Instant Pot, and my first attempt wasn’t very successful. I had soaked the beans overnight like I always do before cooking them, but that apparently is an unnecessary step when cooking beans in the Instant Pot. My beans were overcooked and just a little mushy, so I decided that they would be great in a creamy bean soup rather than eating them on their own. Nothing worse than soft, mushy beans, but they are perfect for this soup! This soup is excellent on its own, while my husband likes me to serve it over a grilled slice of crusty Italy bread. To garnish my soup, I fried up a little more pancetta with some croutons I made from dicing up a couple slices of Italian bread. Add a little finely chopped fresh rosemary, and you have the perfect garnish for this soup.
Deborah Mele 2019
- 3/4 Cup Diced Pancetta
- 1 large Onion, Finely Chopped
- 3 Medium Carrots, Finely Chopped
- 3 Stalks Celery, Finely Chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
- 6 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
- 4 1/2 Cups Cooked Cannellini Beans (Or 3 15-Ounce Cans, Drained)
- 1/4 Cup Finely Diced Pancetta
- 2 Cups Diced Italian Bread (Cut Into 1/2-inch Cubes)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta until no longer pink, and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.
- Remove the pancetta to a plate covered in paper towels to drain.
- Remove fat from the stock pot, leaving just a tablespoon or two.
- Increase the heat to medium high heat and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
- Cook, stirring often until the vegetables have softened and have begun too brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add the broth, rosemary, beans, salt, pepper and pepper flakes and bring to a boil.
- Return the pancetta to the pot.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs from the pot, and taste, adjusting seasonings as needed.
- Use a hand immersion blender or counter blender and puree about half the ingredients until smooth, then return to the pot.
- While the soup is simmering, prepare the garnish.
- Fry the pancetta in a medium sized frying pan until no longer pinch.
- Add the croutons, rosemary, salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often until the bread becomes crispy and brown.
- Serve the soup warm with a spoonful of the garnish on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 313mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 11gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g