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.

Tags: beans, comfort food, Healthy, hearty, Soups, Vegetarian, wheat-free, winter

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Comments (19) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago Janie

Jennaa, 2 steps on the first cooking for them. It might take between 1½ to 2 hours so start checking them after an hour or so. The second stage is when you salt them (Don't add salt to bean in the first cook they will get tough) The 2nd part of the first stage you salt them and cook about another 20 minutes to ½ hour. Then do step 2 and prepare the leeks as the instructions state. All beans cook differently. Some cook quicker than others, even among the same kind of bean. So times are arbitrary, you have to keep checking them. I have never cold cooked beans this way.
I put the dry picked beans in cold water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes then cover them and take them off the heat for about an hour, drain and re-add more fresh cold water then continue with the recipe.


over 2 years ago jennaa

I don't understand how firm I should let the beans get during the first step- It says to let them get tender, but in the second step, it says simmer for an hour until the beans are tender again?

How long should I cook the beans in the first step? Should I bring them to a boil, then let them sit in the hot water for an hour or so? This is what the bag says to do in order to cook them.


almost 4 years ago RaquelG

Love this take on pasta e fagioli! From the photo it wants a bit of color; do you think that wilting in a little fresh spinach would detract?


over 4 years ago Janie

It is definitely soup weather in NY today!!! I Love the garlic idea....this is one I have to r=try..bean soups are a favorite....


almost 5 years ago Midge

Ooh, yum. I want to make this as soon as soup weather returns. Is it not necessary to soak the beans first?


almost 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thanks, Midge! No need to soak the beans first - I use the method I describe in step 1 all the time with dried beans, and it works well. Of course, feel free to soak if you want to - it'll just make for a shorter cooking time when you do cook the beans. :)


over 4 years ago Midge

This was so warming and delicious. Next time I'll double the garlic confit--it's way too tempting to swipe a hunk of bread (or several) through it while you're waiting for the soup to cook.


over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

I see absolutely no harm in doubling the confit - it's great to have around! :) We actually used some of the garlicky oil to baste the crusts of the pizzas my husband made this weekend - good stuff. So glad you liked this!


almost 5 years ago aycakaya

One of the best soups I have ever made! Also, love the leftover garlic confit for dipping my bread. Beautiful.


almost 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thank you!


almost 5 years ago Cara Eisenpress

I have every single one of these ingredients in the house right now. Making this tonight!


almost 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thanks, Cara! I hope you liked it!


over 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thanks so much, everyone! This has been a long-time favorite of ours :)


over 5 years ago SunnySideUp (lesley829)

yum! the photo is great too. thanks for sharing.


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds so good! Love the picture too!


over 5 years ago mariaraynal

Such a smart use of garlic! I love white bean soup in all its forms.


over 5 years ago TasteFood

This sounds so warm and satisfying. I love the idea of incorporating garlic confit.


over 5 years ago Maria Teresa Jorge

I love the recipe and the Garlic Confit is absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing it.


over 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thank you! I use that garlic confit - and the garlicky oil - in all sorts of things now. And I love it in this soup :)