Christmas and New Years Eve have come and gone and “baby it’s cold outside!” I spent most of my life in the Northeast, but since moving to the Carolinas fifteen years ago, I have become a total wimp about winter weather. I don’t know if my blood has thinned (if that’s even a thing) or what. But when the temperature drops below 32° F, all I want to do is stay inside, snuggle by the fire, and consume a lot of soup. Soup is so comforting and warming, and after all the heavy holiday fare, a bowl of Tuscan White Bean Soup with bread or a salad is the perfect dinner for a cold winter’s night. I particularly like to serve it with Bruschetta, which is an Italian antipasto consisting of grilled bread topped with vegetables. It’s the perfect compliment to this White Bean Soup because it’s bread and salad all in one.
White Bean Soup & Bruschetta
White Bean Soup
- 2 Tbsps butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots diced
- 4-5 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 small bunch sage leaves chopped
- 5 15 oz. cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup half and half
Melt the butter and olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add 3 cans of cannellini beans, sage, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and puree using an immersion blender until smooth.
Return to the heat, add the half and half and the remaining 2 cans of beans.
Simmer for another 5 minutes until the whole beans are heated through.
Serve hot with garlic bread or bruschetta.
- 1 baguette sliced (2 slices per person)
- 2 Tbsps olive oil for brushing on the bread slices
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups Roma tomatoes small diced
- 1/4 cup red onion small diced
- 1/3 cup basil leaves chiffonade * or thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Lightly brush the baguette slices with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted. (I use a grill pan.)
Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and allow to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld.
Top the toasted bread with the tomato mixture and serve.
*Chiffonade is a fancy French term for slicing herbs or other leafy greens into thin strips. This is accomplished by stacking the leaves, rolling them tightly like a cigar, and finely slicing them perpendicular to the roll.
After the chaos of the holidays, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to set an intimate table for just me and my husband in front of the fire for our White Bean Soup supper.
Several years ago, my mother gave me some cute soup and sandwich sets, which I felt would be perfect for this meal. Since the plates and bowls are black and white, I decided to create a tablescape using this color scheme.I started by placing my small black gateleg table and buffalo plaid stools in front of the fireplace.
White and black geometric placemats anchor the table setting. The inexpensive rustic cutlery has blackened handles that look like hand-forged wrought iron. The stemless wine glasses keep the white and black theme going with chalkboard labels. Black and white gratitude script napkins are tied with simple black and white gingham ribbon. The ribbon ties the look together, as it coordinates with the stools and the cachepot.
The red cyclamen in the gingham cachepot or planter offers a bright splash of color to the otherwise black and white table. A pair of wrought iron and glass votives completes the tablescape.
The period after the holidays when you take down all the Christmas sparkle can be kind of cold and depressing. However, making a bowl of warming White Bean Soup and paying a little attention to creating a simple but attractive tablescape, can bring a special glow to even an ordinary winter evening.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the funny story and recipe of my grandmother’s Red Italian Bean Soup:
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