Garlicky White Bean Soup
1 1 ⁄ 4 to 1 3 ⁄ 4 hours, mostly unattended
Use dried beans, don’t skimp on the garlic (when I say “1 bulb” I mean it), and you won’t be disappointed.
1 1 ⁄ 2 cups any dried white beans, rinsed and picked over
1 medium garlic bulb, cloves peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for garnish
1. Put the beans, garlic, and rosemary in a large pot with 6 cups water over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily.
2. Cook, stirring every 20 minutes or so and adding more water if the mixture gets too thick or dry, until the beans are tender and falling apart, 45 to 90 minutes depending on the bean and whether or not you soaked them first.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir vigorously to break them up even more. If you like, you can mash or purée some or all of the soup at this point. Taste, adjust the seasoning with more salt or pepper, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top of each bowl.
White Bean Soup with Lots of Vegetables
In Step 2, during the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 1 to 2 cups of chopped greens such as spinach, kale, escarole, or collards and cook until the greens have wilted, 3 to 10 minutes.
White Bean Soup with Shrimp
In Step 2, during the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 1 pound peeled shrimp to the soup and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns pink and opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.