When it was normal to idolize popular athletes, pop singers or actresses, I was watching Food Network Chefs in awe… Britney Spears could “do it again” until the cows came home and I could not have cared less, because my idol was far less fame focused, and far more food focused. Her name is Giada De Laurentiis, and my guess is all foodies out there would recognize her from her Food Network show, ‘Everyday Italian.’
I was and still am extremely fascinated with the way she is able to take a few simple ingredients and create a quick, and healthy Italian meal. This fascination of mine became larger than life when I, (for the first time), had to cook for myself in college. My small apartment kitchen quickly became my playground, and to my roommates dismay, I attempted to cook every recipe of hers…A hobby which came with its fair share of dishes mind you!
Giada always has been able to add a modern and clean twist to old Italian favorites, and watching her interact with her Italian family reminded me of my own! Her recipes have been tried more times than I can count by yours truly, like this silky Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup. I take it one step further and make my own croutons with left-over San Francisco sourdough bread, and it is heavenly.
~ Giada’s Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup ~
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1-2 sage leaf
- 2 (15-ounce) cans of cannelloni or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- A sourdough baguette
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (if you have it on hand)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, or if you have an immersion blender use that and blend half of the soup! Next add the cream and the pepper, and keep warm, covered, over very low heat.
Cut half the baguette into cubes and place in a bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese, give a quick toss, and bake on a cookie sheet at a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Why I love this recipe: For one it is really easy for me to keep all the necessary ingredients on hand, and it is a very inexpensive soup to make! I also love how the texture can be played around with, blending it longer for a smoother soup! Personally, I like adding the croutons right on the top of my soup with an extra sprinkling of parm! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do! Cheers!