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Pancetta, White Bean and Rosemary Soup

Originally a Barefoot Contessa recipe, I tweaked it a bit and the whole family happily ate it up. Like so many veggie-heavy soups, this felt like “health in a bowl” but didn’t necessarily taste like it. It is hearty, but not overly thick. It tastes so well balanced, not single flavored, so you want to eat a second bowl. The fennel lends some sweetness, the cheese imparts that umami flavor and the rosemary it just enough to not be overpowering. I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze excellently. Rich went for his second bowl and asked “if this was a website soup”. It is now! A definite make again.

Pancetta, White Bean and Rosemary Soup

Serves 8-10

1/4 c. olive oil

4 oz. pancetta, diced to 1/4 inch*

1/2 tsp. anchovy paste

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

2 leeks, diced, white and green part only (2 c.)

1 bulb fennel, diced

2 c. diced carrots

2 c. diced celery

2 c. diced onion

2 (15 oz) cans white beans

8 c. chicken or vegetable broth or stock

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp. black pepper

Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated, to top

*One of my favorite Trader Joes buys is a 4 oz. container of 1/4 inch diced pancetta. I buy four or five and freeze them.

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  2. Add anchovy paste, garlic and rosemary and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add leeks, fennel, carrots, celery and onion. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 10 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, open beans and strain 1 c. of the bean liquid into blender. Add 1 c. of the beans. Blend to smooth.
  5. Add to pot along with the remaining beans. Add broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.
  6. Reduce to simmer and simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Taste for salt, remove bay leaves, serve topped with cheese.