WHITE BEAN SOUP – serves 6 people


My Bolognese mother taught me how to cook. I became so in love with cooking northern Italian cuisine that I paid off my student loans in Boston by cooking for people. I hope you enjoy the legacy of my mother in these original recipes inspired by mom’s love for homemade Italian food.

A thick puree of cooked dried beans is at the heart of this substantial country soup from Tuscany. It makes a warming winter much or supper dish.


  • 1 1/2 cups dried cannelloni or other white beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes (optional) peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 1/2 cups boiling water
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  1. Pick over the beans carefully, discarding any stones or other particles. Soak the beans in a large saucepan of water, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Drain. Return the beans to the pan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil again. Remove the bay leaf.
  2. Puree about three quarters of the beans in a food processor, or pass through a food mill, adding a little water if necessary.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion, and cook until it softens. Add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and parsley. Cook for 6-8 minutes more, stirring often.
  5. Pour in the boiling water. Stir in the beans and the bean puree for 10-15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls, sprinkled with a little virgin olive oil.

NOTE: you may wish to top with some fresh, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Buon appetito!

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