Italian-born chef Francesca Montillo reaches for this warming recipe when she wants an easy, nourishing meal to beat the winter chill. “Soups are just the perfect meal for when cold weather hits,” she says, noting that the fiber-rich cannellini beans in this recipe make it particularly satisfying. “You can have a large bowl and not feel guilty!”
Like all the recipes in her new book, The 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook, the ingredient list is brief, but Montillo sees that simplicity as the soul of the cooking she learned in her family kitchen. “Italian cooking is all about quality over quantity,” she says, adding that the intense flavors of olive oil, fresh and seasonal ingredients, and aged cheeses are ideal for easy recipes that don’t sacrifice flavor.
To make a meal of this soup, Montillo serves it alongside a few slices of crusty bread, cubed parmesan, and a bit of aged prosciutto—plus a glass of rosé or zinfandel. We love Castello di Meleto Borgaio Rosé or Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel.
Tuscan Bean Soup
Minestra di Cannellini
Adapted from Montillo’s “The 5-Ingredient Italian Cookbook.”
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 hot Italian sausages, diced into 4 or 5 pieces
1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
In a large soup pot, add the oil, carrots, onion, and parsley. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until they have taken on some color but are still a bit crunchy. Add the sausage, and mixing with a wooden spoon, brown it on all sides for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and continue sautéing for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the beans and enough water to cover all the ingredients. Add salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, and continue boiling for an additional 20 minutes, or until the beans are fully cooked.
Jen Rose Smith is a freelance writer and award-winning guidebook author whose work explores travel, adventure and food. She’s currently living on the road, with a mountainous 2018 itinerary that goes from the Andes of South America to the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Read more of her work at jenrosesmith.com.