Tuscan tomato and white bean soup
There’s a secret to this soup being so smooth and velvety. Two thirds of the beans are pureed with the soup, which adds that creamy mouth feel. Then we add the reserved whole beans to the pot for extra texture. It’s such a warming and comforting taste of the Mediterranean!
This soup is also proof that you don’t have to have much in the way of ingredients to make a hearty and flavorful meal. It contains little more than canned tomatoes, canned cannellini beans, onion, garlic, olive oil, stock and a some simple seasonings — and it can be whipped up in under half an hour. We usually make a double batch and freeze it in serving size portions — it gives us a sense of contentment to know we can have a tasty and nutritious lunch or dinner on the table within minutes.
I could say that Parmesan cheese is optional, only because the soup is so tasty by itself, but we love the way it goes a little stringy as it melts into the hot soup, adding its own cheesy creaminess. An ideal accompaniment for this soup is some crusty Italian bread like ciabatta, or rustic whole wheat bread.
1 onion — diced
5 garlic cloves — finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets — chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
28 oz (800g) canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
14 oz (400g) canned cannellini beans — rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Variation: For a vegetarian version, remove the anchovies and replace with half a teaspoon of salt.