I can only think of one dish that could always warm my insides and that is my Mother's White Bean Soup, a staple at the Casa Bianca for years. Simple and satisfying as a starter or with some great garlic bread - it's all you need.
- 1 # 10 can of white kidney beans or you can soak the dry beans
- 4 cloves coarsely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon oregano
- fresh basil
- S&P to taste
- 2 stocks of celery chopped
- 1 bunch scallions
- 2 small shallots chopped
- 6 slices of bacon chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups marinara sauce homemade or your favorite jar
- Romano Cheese
In a heavy saucepan large enough to hold the beans and liquid, place the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon set it aside. Add the olive oil to the bacon fat and sweat the celery, garlic shallots and scallions about 2 minutes on medium heat.
Add the red pepper flakes along with the beans. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN. Set the stove on medium heat and stir frequently from the bottom up as it cooks. Once the beans and herbs are incorporated, add the chicken stock and sauce. Season with the remaining herbs and add the bacon back in. Simmer for a couple hours.
When you serve it, dust the top of the soup with the Pecorino Romano Cheese and dip your crusty Italian bread. Yum!