White Bean & Garlic Soup

By • December 30, 2009 19 Comments

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Author Notes: I’ve made some version of this soup for years now, and this current incarnation is probably my favorite. It’s robust and hearty, brimming with pasta, potatoes, and creamy white beans, all adrift in a garlicky broth. If you’re experiencing a cold snap like we are here in New England, put a pot of this on the stove – it’ll warm you right up and make the whole house smell heavenly. I make batches of garlic confit on a fairly regular basis, but you can substitute cloves from a roasted whole head of garlic if you prefer.lastnightsdinner

Serves 4-6

Garlic Confit

  • 1-2 heads garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 300.
  2. Separate the cloves from the head(s) of garlic, peel the cloves, and place them in a single layer in a small, shallow, ovenproof baking dish.
  3. Add just enough olive oil to cover the cloves, then place in the oven and cook 45 minutes to an hour, until the cloves are very soft.
  4. Cool the garlic and oil, then transfer into a covered container or glass jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

White Bean & Garlic Soup

  • 1 cup dried white beans
  • 2 tablespoons garlic-infused oil (from confit), or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced into thin half-moons
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh marjoram, savory, rosemary, or thyme, or a few large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 12-14 cloves garlic confit
  • 6-8 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup ditalini, tubetti, or other small soup pasta
  1. Rinse and pick through the beans, place them into a pot and cover them with 4 cups of cold tap water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the beans are just tender. Season with salt and let the beans cook just a bit longer until they are seasoned. (You can do this ahead of time and store the beans in the refrigerator or freezer in their cooled cooking liquid.)
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the beans with their cooking liquid (you should have about 2 cups worth), the herbs, the parmesan rind, and the water or broth, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, until the beans are tender but still a bit firm.
  3. Remove any herb stems from the soup and discard (the leaves should have fallen off into the broth). Mash the garlic to a paste and stir into the soup until it is well-incorporated, then add the potatoes and carrots. Season with salt, re-cover the pan and let it simmer another 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the pasta is just cooked through. Remove the parmesan rind and spoon the soup into bowls, topping with grated parmesan if desired.

More Great Recipes: Appetizers|Beans & Legumes|Pasta|Vegetables|Potatoes

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