White Bean-Pancetta Soup

Not sure where this recipe came from originally, but have been making it for a few years and never make it quite the same way. I know I’ve changed at least 3 of the ingredients/quantities, and don’t even recall the name of the original recipe, so maybe I can call it mine.

When you read the ingredient list, you can tell it’s pretty open to adjusting to your tastes. I love pancetta, but my husband thinks that regular bacon or ham (and more of it) would be better in this soup. Well, since I’m the cook….. :-). I put lemon juice in here, but often think a splash of Chardonnay would be an interesting substitute — just haven’t done it yet… maybe someday when the planets align and  there is Chardonnay on hand plus the desire to make the soup all on the same day.

Anyway, here’s the recipe to use as you wish.

White Bean-Pancetta Soup

3 oz package of pancetta, chopped (that’s how it’s available in local grocery, so that’s what is used – it could be any amount you wish)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (if you’re not a garlic fan, tone this down)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup chopped carrots
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. thyme ( I use dried, but sometime want to use fresh when have fresh thyme and the ingredients)
2 Bay leaves
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed. (Have used Cannellini or Great Northern)
4 cups chicken broth (or a 32 oz. box)
zest of 1 lemon
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste

To put it all together….
1. Heat olive oil in small soup pot and heat
2. Add garlic and pancetta, saute 2-3 minutes
3. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme and saute another 5-7 minutes or until veggies are just starting to get tender
4. Add broth and bay leaves. Bring to boil, turn down heat, and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until veggies are done.
5. Add parsley, lemon juice and zest. Heat a few more minutes.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and/or salad and enjoy!

I like to make this soup for Sunday dinner after church as it comes together fast and we’ve usually had a later breakfast, so it isn’t a heavy meal.