A classic Italian bean soup from Piemonte - a real Italian staple. This is a hearty, sustaining soup with melted taleggio cheese, finished with extra virgin olive oil, that will keep you warm all afternoon.
2 tbsp olive oil
60g pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1½ onions, chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
1½ cups dried cannellini beans, soaked for at least 5 hours
3 cups chicken stock
80g taleggio cheese
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add the pancetta, garlic and onions and cook over a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, until softened and golden brown. Add the bay leaf, drained cannellini beans and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, skim the surface, partly cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cook for 1½ hours or until the beans are soft, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Puree the soup. My tip to ensure the desired consistency: take about a cup of the liquid out and set it aside. Puree the soup and if it is too thick, simply add some of the reserved liquid.
3. Chop the taleggio into small pieces and stir into the soup.
4. Pour into individual bowls and finish with plenty of ground pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.