Happy International Women's Day! Let's celebrate with a sip of soup. #BeBoldForChange
This is a great soup to serve as the season transitions from winter to spring. It's satisfying yet not overly heavy, with a lushness created by pureeing the beans. No heavy cream required. For a vegetarian version, delete the pancetta, and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces chopped pancetta or bacon (about ¼ cup)
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
5 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 generous handfuls fresh spinach leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan
Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the pancetta is just crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sage, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cannellini beans, broth, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, puree the soup in batches in a blender. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the spinach. Cook until the spinach leaves wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and black pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the parsley. Serve at once.