The soup in question is a white bean and sage soup that Shan first made for a dinner party* a few years ago that I happened to attend. This particular soup has many virtues: It's hearty, it's flavorful, and it's a snap to make. 30 minutes or less, with a minimum of chopping.
In the past, we've both made this soup with small white beans; this time, on a recommendation from The New Best Recipe, we decided to try it with Progresso's cannellini (white kidney) beans instead. It turned out well, but I think I still prefer the white beans; they make a slightly thicker and definitely creamier soup. We also used fresh sage; I've used ground sage before, but that's risky because it can be overpowering if you use too much. Used in a pinch with care, it's just fine, but fresh sage is definitely the best option.
Although the soup is normally also vegetarian, we decided to add a twist: sausage. We wanted something subtle that would blend in and enhance the flavor instead of standing out because the soup already has plenty of flavor on its own. We opted for a chicken, spinach and fontina cheese sausage that we found at Trader Joe's. It did just what we wanted and added a nice extra kick. The soup doesn't need help, but our experiment proved that since it's so simple, you can easily add a few frills for something a little different. Between it and the beautiful Gruyere biscuits, we ate very, very well.
So, without further adieu:
White bean and sage soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz cans white or navy beans, drained and divided
27 ounces chicken or veggie broth**
1/2 cup short tube pasta (although any small pasta, such as shells or small macaroni, will work)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat oil in saucepan. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add 1 can beans and press into a paste. Add the broth and heat to a boil.
Add pasta, sage and pepper. Boil until pasta is just tender. Add remaining can of beans and simmer 2 minutes.
* This recipe is sort of small. It's just right if you're making it for one or two people and want a couple days of leftovers; it reheats well. But if you want to make it for a group of people, double it.
** This soup is pretty thick, and leftovers can turn into the consistency of dip in the fridge, so I recommend adding a little extra broth. I usually buy a 32-ounce box of broth and use it all; you could thin it even more if you like a little more broth in your soup.
posted by Katie at 11:28 PM;