This soup is beautifully complex, with a rich blend of earthy beans and peppery arugula. A spritz of lemon just before eating adds an unexpected kick.
1 pound dried white canelli or great northern beans
3 tbls olive oil
3 cups onions, minced
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 unpeeled carrots, chopped into 1/4" cubes
2 ribs celery, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, divided
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced*
5 cups arugula leaves
4 ounces Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 lemons, quartered, for garnish
*Substitute 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary if fresh is unavailable. Avoid using herbs that are more than six months old.
1. Check the dried beans for stones and imperfections. Place them in a spacious bowl, fill with water, and soak overnight.
2. Drain the beans and place them in a large pot. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a lively simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and partially cover with a lid. Cook for 20–30 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans and set aside.
3. Pour the olive oil into a heavy-bottomed soup pot and turn the heat to medium-high.
4. Add the onions and one teaspoon of salt; toss to coat.
5. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are translucent.
6. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
7. Add the carrots, celery, black pepper, and 2 cups of the stock. Cook for 5 minutes.
8. Add the beans, rosemary, and the remaining salt and stock. Bring to a lively simmer. Adjust the heat to a slow, bubbling simmer and partially cover with a lid. Cook for 25 minutes.
9. Grate enough of the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese to produce one half cup grated cheese.
10. Add the grated cheese and argula and stir. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
11. Adjust the seasonings keeping in mind that Parmesan-Reggiano cheese is salty.
12. Using a vegetable peeler, cut long, thin strips of the remaining cheese.
13. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a generous helping of cheese strips.
14. Serve a lemon quarter with each bowl and spritz with the juice just before eating.
Preparation time: Under three hours, plus overnight to soak the beans.