You regulars may have noticed the lack of a “Weekend Eats (and Drinks)” post yesterday. This weekend was filled with some truly wonderful food and drink, but it turned out to be my undoing.
After spending the better part of our Saturday trekking around the city on food safari, and then heading out again on Sunday to check out Wintermarket (you can see my photos here) – well, let’s just say that my body was not entirely happy with me. Two days in a row of schlepping around in the cold and damp while carrying heavy bags sent me right into a flare, and I spent much of my Monday in bed trying to recover.
But I don’t always do a good job of listening when my body tells me to slow down, so I didn’t rest as much as I probably should have – who can rest this time of year, anyway – and I went forward with the dinner I had planned for Monday night.
I used to make a version of this white bean and roasted garlic soup all of the time using canned beans, but on our last visit to Marlow and Sons I noticed they are now stocking the Rancho Gordo beans all of you Bay area peeps rave about, so of course I grabbed a bag.
Using dried beans instead of canned required an extra step and a bit more time on the stove, but I think the soup benefited from both. The hardest part was the chopping, really, and once everything was in the pot I could sit back with my feet up and relax with the cats while it simmered away.
White Bean & Roasted Garlic Soup
8 oz. dried cannellini beans
2 leeks, halved and sliced into half-moons
3 sprigs winter savory (rosemary, thyme or sage would also work well)
4 cups rich vegetable or chicken stock
1 parmesan rind
1 head garlic
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup ditalini or other small tube-shaped pasta
Rinse and pick through the beans, place them into a pot and cover them with enough cold water so that there is about an inch of water above the top of the beans. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the beans soak for an hour.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the beans with their cooking liquid (you should have about 2 cups worth), the savory, the parmesan rind and the stock, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, until the beans are tender but still a bit firm.
While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 375. Cut the top off of the garlic bulb, place it in the center of a square of aluminum foil, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and seal the garlic up in the foil. Place the garlic into the oven and roast until the garlic is very soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skins, place them into a small bowl and mash into a paste.
Remove any savory stems from the soup and discard (the leaves should have fallen off into the broth). Stir in the garlic paste until well-incorporated, then add the potatoes and carrots. Season with salt, re-cover the pan and let it simmer another 30 minutes or so, until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the pasta and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and spoon the soup into bowls, topping with grated parmesan if desired.