White Bean Soup with rosemary and pancetta is a flavorful, comforting soup, made easily in about 30 minutes!I have always had dreams of spending a summer in a villa somewhere in Tuscany. Long ago, I read Frances Mayes’ book, Under the Tuscan Sun, and have fantasized ever since, for that quiet, simple life.
Frances and her husband purchased a run-down villa and spent vacations repairing the house and eating simply. Frances foraged in the overgrown garden for herbs and salad greens and walked into the village for locally made cheeses and sausages for their meals. Often neighbors would stop by with bottles of wine, vinegar and perhaps some fresh pasta and a dinner party would appear! (This recipe was originally published on March 18th, 2013. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases).
I like impromptu entertaining…an afternoon visit that stretches into an early evening dinner. I always have enough in my pantry to throw together a simple meal at the last minute.
Easily made from pantry staples
This white bean soup is one those dishes that can be thrown together quickly using canned beans. You of course, can always opt for dried beans. I also always have plenty of chicken broth, either homemade or canned available. If you are a vegetarian, of course substitute vegetable broth.
I used The Barefoot Contessa’s, Rosemary White Bean Soup as a starting point, but instead of using dried, substituted canned beans, so that the dish would come together in under a half hour. I also decided to add pancetta for a little more flavor and a “Tuscan twist”. This, of course, can be omitted if you prefer.
How do you make white bean soup?
- Fry the pancetta until crisp. Reserve the pancetta. Some will go in the soup, some as a garnish.
- Saute the diced onions in a large saucepan.
- Add the garlic, drained beans, herbs and broth.
- Reduce heat and cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
- Puree using an immersion blender. Usually I prefer to puree my soups in the blender for a very smooth texture, but this one has a more rustic feel, so a few chunks are fine.
- Season with kosher salt and white and black pepper.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and additional pancetta if desired.
Can this white bean soup be made vegetarian?
Absolutely! Omit the pancetta or bacon and substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
What can you serve with white bean soup?
White Bean Soup with rosemary and pancetta
- 4 ounces pancetta diced and divided
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 14 ounce cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 spring fresh rosemary 3-4 inches
- 1 bay leaf
- Optional walnut or olive oil to drizzle on top.
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Cook pancetta until crisp. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve 1/2 the pancetta for garnish.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and continue to cook one more minute.
- Then add beans, stock, rosemary and bay leaf. With cover slightly off simmer about 20 to 30 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the the rosemary branch and bay leaf.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup, leaving it coarsely pureed.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in crumbled 1/2 diced cooked pancetta. Drizzle with walnut or olive oil, additional chopped rosemary and diced pancetta if desired.
- Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta, but don't use a "maple" or hickory flavored bacon.
- Wait until after the soup is pureed to season. Some chicken broth can be saltier than others.
- If there isn't enough fat left from cooking the pancetta, make up the difference with additional oil.
- Leaving the lid askew on top of the pot will help reduce the soup somewhat.
- If, after pureeing the soup, it's too thick, add more broth until desired consistency is achieved.
- If the soup is too thin, reduce with the cover off, for an additional 10 minutes or until desired thickness is reached.