Saturday, February 03, 2007

White Bean Soup with Mascarpone

White Bean Soup

In the spirit of the season of conversation hearts and overpriced red roses, can I just tell you how much I love my husband? Not only is J the sole cook at our house, he's also a darn good one. His Tuscan bean soup with pancetta and shavings of parmesan reggiano is hands down my favorite bean soup, and I request it all the time. And so he admitted to being a little worried about this new creation, and how I would welcome it to our repertoire of "what's for dinner tonight," given my loyalty to the original. But J needn't worry; this new concoction, with a dollop of mascarpone and porcini mushrooms, is positively scrumptious in its own right. I love the way the cool, creamy masarpone melts in your mouth against the warm, earthy soup.

From the mouth of the cook himself, here's the lowdown:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
2 cans white beans (or soak dried white beans until tender)
2 slices of pancetta (1/4" thick)
1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbs mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups sliced wild mushrooms (I used porcini)
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 small shallot finely chopped

Process --

Heat 6-qt pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and pancetta. Render fat from pancetta (approx. 10 minutes) and remove pancetta from pan. Add rosemary, onion and fennel and cook until softened. Add chicken stock and drained beans and slowly simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the beans are cooking heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and a chopped shallot. Cook chopped shallot until sweated (about 1 minute) then add mushrooms. Gently stir the mushrooms until evenly coated with butter and add a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let mushrooms cook until they are tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes (try not to stir too much). Add parsley, a small pinch of the thyme and remove from heat.

When the beans are finished cooking remove from heat and carefully blend with an immersion blender (or in a blender done in several batches) until mixed to a smooth consistency.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with sauteed mushrooms. Quenelle (roll between two spoons) a spoonful of mascarpone and softly place into soup.

- K


Blogger Kalyn said...

It does sound quite wonderful!

8:07 PM  

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