White Bean Soup with Pesto and Chorizo

The weather this week has been pretty bleak – chilly, windy and rainy. This always turns my thoughts to soup and this white bean soup with pesto and chorizo is one hearty solution to banish the damp. It is thick and satisfying and only needs a salad and bread to make a complete meal. If you don’t have or like chorizo sausage you can substitute Andouille or a good garlicky sausage. It would still be delicious without any sausage, but for me, the sausage just puts it over the top.

When I first starting making this soup, you couldn’t buy ready-made pesto or even canned cannellini beans that easily, so I had to do everything from scratch. If you use some quality shortcuts like a good commercial stock and canned beans and prepared pesto – this soup is a snap to make and honestly just as wonderful. And if you don’t own an immersion blender, this should be a gift to yourself! It saves time and energy – yours and the environment’s. There is less clean-up than with a blender or food processor and you can even puree things that are hot without risking that mess you can make with hot soup in a blender. I am grateful to Frances and Matthew every time I use mine.

white bean soup

White Bean Soup with Pesto and Chorizo adapted from The Peasant Kitchen by Perla Meyers, which unfortunately seems to be out of print 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons EVOO

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

28 ounce can chopped San Marzano tomatoes in juice

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 – 15 oz. cans cooked white beans like Cannellini OR 5-6 cups cooked white beans

4 cups Chicken Stock, preferably unsalted (you could use Vegetable if you want)

1 teaspoon (or to taste) Kosher salt and about 25 cracks of fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup broken up uncooked thin spaghetti or Angel Hair pasta

6 ounces (or more to taste) good quality pesto (look for one where basil is the first ingredient and where it uses olive oil and prefereably has pine nuts or walnuts)

6 ounces thinly sliced chorizo or other sausage (for this recipe, I prefer Spanish chorizo over Mexican – it’s dryer which is better with the soup.

Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese for garnish

Directions

  1. In a 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 3 Tablespoons of EVOO. Add the onion, garlic and parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano and continue cooking for another 6 or 7 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of the cooked beans and one cup of the stock. Then season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend the mixture, with the heat turned off, immediately. You want it mostly smooth but don’t go crazy if there are some bigger bits. If you are using a blender or food processor, you must let the mixture cool down or you will have a mess. This will also need to be done in batches. See how much easier it is with an immersion blender?!
  5. Add the remaining beans an the rest of the stock. Season with salt and pepper and add the pasta. Stir. If y ou are not goin to eat this right away, you can allow the pasta to soften with the heat turned off in the covered pot. Otherwise, cook the pasta for about 8 minutes in the pot of soup.
  6. Add the chorizo or other sausage and the pesto. Stir through. The soup should be thick, but still soup.
  7. Serve with a dollop of pesto and some grated cheese. Leftovers will keep and they will thicken some. It’s up to you if you want to thin it out with some additional stock. I LIKE thick soup.
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