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Tuscan Bean and Cheese Soup

No recipe image available."This soup is so delicious, whoever tries it has to have the recipe and it becomes a family favorite." Recipe submitted by Rona.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 pound dried white beans (navy or great northern)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, scraped and diced
2 celery stocks with leaves, cleaned and chopped
1 cup smoked ham, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt, ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 to 10 slices toasted, crusty white bread

Cooking Directions:

  1. Wash and pick over beans and put into a large kettle. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for one hour. Drain beans, reserving water. Add enough fresh water to make 3 quarts.
  2. Sauté onion, garlic, celery and ham in heated olive oil in a large soup pot, about 5 minutes. Add beans with water, red pepper, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered about 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender. Remove 1/2 the beans from the soup and purée, return to soup, add parsley. Simmer over low heat until it is the consistency you want. Serve with one piece of the bread in it and top with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: I have made this with canned beans and added the water to make 3 quarts and it has worked fine. This would decrease the cooking time. You can probably decrease the olive oil down to 1 tablespoon, if desired.