White Bean Soup with Pasta and Rosemary Oil

November 5, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

What do you do when you’ve got a rosemary plant going wild like this?  Make this standout soup!  This is another recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which is so delicious it’s tied for first on my list of favorite homemade soups with the Chipotle-Lime Soup with Pumpkin.  Whichever one I’m eating at the moment is my favorite :-).   A nice Pinot Grigio or Soave works well as a wine pairing.

Margaux says . . .

This is one of my favorite soups to make in the winter!  Although, I’ve already made it this year, and it wasn’t even really cold out yet!  I double the pasta amount, and serve it with a lot of pasta in the bottom of the bowl in order to make it even heartier.  That also stretches the soup further, which is good when you’re on a budget! 

The Rosemary Oil

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary

2 garlic cloves, sliced

Slowly warm the above ingredients until the garlic begins to color – about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

The Soup

2 cups dried cannellini beans or 2 15-ounce cans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary OR  2 teaspoons dried rosemary

1 onion, minced

2 carrots, finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 1/2-3 quarts filtered water or chicken stock

1 parmesan rind, optional

1 small can diced tomatoes or 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes and their juice

To make with dried beans: Brine the beans by dissolving 2 tablespoons salt in 3 quarts of water in a saucepan. Add the beans, bring to a boil, turn off heat and let rest for 1 hour. Heat the oil with the rosemary in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until the onion is softened and beginning to brown a little – about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook until fragrant – a couple of minutes.

Drain the beans, rinse well and add them to the pot along with the liquid  and optional parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer covered until the beans have begun to soften – 30 min-1 hour.  Add 2 teaspoons salt and the tomatoes and continue cooking for 30 minutes more or until the beans are cooked through but not mushy.


To make with canned beans:  After cooking the vegetables, add the beans and tomatoes along with the liquid and optional parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Aunt Suzy’s Cook’s Notes:  For years I made this with canned beans. But after reading about brining dried beans before cooking, I have been making many of my bean based soups using this method. It also helps that I am now retired and have plenty of time to cook. 🙂 I also use fire roasted diced tomatoes, although this is great with plain diced. I always make this with chicken stock, but it can be made vegetarian with water or vegan by omitting the cheese that comes in the next step.  Originally this did not call for the parmesan rind, but I’ve also been using a rind in many of the soups we make here at S&SK. If you like a brothy soup, leave as is.  If you like a thicker soup, you can puree part of the soup, to your taste.  This makes a lot of soup, so you can put any extra in the freezer as this soup freezes very well.

Finishing and Serving the Soup

1 cup or more dried small pasta – elbow macaroni, shells, rotini, cavatappi, etc.

Thin shavings of Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta al dente according to directions.  Strain the rosemary oil.  Place a little pasta in the bottom of soup bowls.  We loved this pasta (new to us), Fusilli Bucati, which had a great texture and mouth appeal!

Ladle the soup over the pasta, drizzle a little rosemary oil on top, pepper to taste and top with the Parmesan cheese.

Serve with crusty bread. Check out Randy’s idea for the garlic and rosemary used to create the oil.   I didn’t try it, but he said it was delicious, so don’t discard these after straining the oil.


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