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Tuscan Bean Soup

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225 g (8 oz) dried white beans (haricot, cannellini), soaked overnight 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or rosemary
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 fresh red chilli, cored, seeded and chopped
Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


Serves: 6


Preheat oven to 170C (325F/Gas 3). Drain beans and place in a flameproof casserole. Cover with water to a depth of 5 cm (2 in) above the beans. Bring to boil, cover tightly and bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the cooking liquid. Place half the beans and liquid in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Stir into the beans in the casserole with the sage or rosemary. Add extra water if too thick. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped garlic until soft and golden. Stir it into the soup, reheat until boiling, then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste the soup and season well with salt and pepper. Heat remaining olive oil in the frying pan and fry the sliced garlic and the chilli until golden. Pour soup into soup plates or bowls, spoon garlic and chilli over the top and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve at once.

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