Soupy. Beany. There’s so much flavour from so few ingredients you’ll wonder how this miracle was created.
250g (8½ oz) dried white beans 90ml (3 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary Salt Optional Crusty bread Grated parmesan cheese Finely grated lemon zest Freshly ground black pepper
1 Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water to cover. Drain, transfer to a saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover pan with a lid and cook gently until beans are tender (45 minutes to 1½ hours, depending on the dryness of the beans). Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the beans, reserving the cooking water.
2 Process half the beans with a little liquid in a food processor until smooth.
3 Wash and dry the saucepan and put in the oil, garlic and rosemary. Cook gently for a few minutes until the garlic starts to sizzle and brown just a little. Add the puréed beans and cook briefly, then add the rest of the beans and 2 cups of the reserved bean cooking water. Bring to the boil, adding salt to taste. Now here’s the thing. The soup will taste quite good without any salt, but it will taste so much better with salt! How much you add is up to you, but don’t shy away from half a teaspoon of salt. The soup should taste mind-blowingly delicious.
4 That’s it. Serve it up. If it gets a bit thicker during reheating, thin with a little bean water. I like to serve it with crusty bread and a grating of parmesan cheese and lemon zest and plenty of black pepper.