Velvety cannellini beans make up this mild and extremely versatile Italian soup.
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I have cooked this soup with kale or spinach and a variety of seasoning meats such as pancetta, sausage, and country ham. It always comes out delicious. Another source suggested bringing the beans to a simmer on the stove top and then finishing them by low-heat simmering in the oven (250 degrees) to avoid having the beans lose their firm but tender texture. I have tried this and it works well.
"Total Time" takes into consideration that you are soaking and cooking your own beans, using the overnight method of soaking the beans.
If you are making this using canned beans then the "Total Time" would be quite a bit less; however the results would not be nearly as good, especially with this recipe.
Hope this helps to clarify things. Cheers!
Personally, I don't think this soup needs it. It is absolutely delicious with water. You could try using stock, but keep in mind that when cooking beans, any salt that is added at the beginning will cause the beans to take longer to cook and may not become as tender as they could. Refer to the How to Cook Dried Legumes lesson in the Cooking School.
Just try making it once with water. The soup is velvety and rich and the soffrito which is added at the end gives it incredible flavor. Cheers!
Made this soup last night after I got home from work. No chicken broth is needed, the water became flavorful enough with the sofrito. I added salt at the very end once it had cooled down a bit (it's my Puerto Rican aunt's teaching: Never add salt to the beans before they cool or they will get hard!). I also used chicken sausage with fennel and came out just as good. Thanks for teaching me about the parmesan rinds. They added such a nice rich flavor to the broth. Will be using them for many future soups this winter. Delicious!
There's no mention in the text of removing the skins off the beans. However, after soaking canellini beans, quite a few of them had the skins falling off and it seemed like I should be skinning them although it's pretty tedious work. Are the beans supposed to be skinned?
Wow. This soup came out fabulous, without stock!. Before RB I always had to adjust recipes. Another pot of perfection here. I'm learning a lot too. My new Kyocera knife made emince fun and nice and making siffrotto was my first time. Any other sifrotto uses?
Using fresh bay from the back yard was a big plus. My only recommendation is get to the garden store and get a small bay tree!
The uses for soffritto are really limitless. Just think of as mirepoix, which is actually what it is, it's just the Italian word for it. However, a soffritto is typically made with olive oil rather than butter in a French mirepoix. Cheers!
The soffritto is such a cool idea. Wow. I was wondering why could you not include the garlic and chili flakes at the beginning of the soup when you start boiling the beans and skip the soffrito step?
And also is it crucial to add the soffrito 5 minutes before the soup is done?
I am guessing that perhaps that flavor and aroma get lost if you boil the stuff for an hour, and that gently warming the aromatics in oil bring out their flavor best. Is that right? Thanks!
You are correct Constantine, if you were to just add the soffritto at the beginning, then the flavors would all blend together. By adding the soffritto near the end, the flavors are still someone separate and more pronounced.
As for exactly when the soffritto is added, no it is not "crucial to add the soffritto 5 minutes before the soup is done" but added it a few minutes before the soup is done, is just so that the flavors can blend together a bit.
With that said, you should experiment—try making the soup and try adding the soffritto at different times. For instance, add it more near the beginning and then try adding it right at the end, or even as you serve the soup and take notice of how this alters the final results.
Hope that helps. Cheers!