Several weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed lunch at Tarry Market in Port Chester. Tarry Market is the brainchild of Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianach and Joe Bastianach and is a mini-Eataly for Greenwich residents who prefer not to make the long trek into New York City. Tarry Market has undergone a bit of makeover toward the end of last year, when they greatly expanded both their dining and parking facilities. In fact, it has become quite popular with the lunch crowd.
We go there frequently for lunch and are rarely disappointed. We will normally order one of their delicious sandwiches from the rotisserie (prime rib, porchetta or veal) with the daily soup. One day we were served a very tasty cannellini bean soup with some escarole or kale and I decided to recreate this belly-warming soup at home. As our Spring continues to be both wet and chilly, today seemed quite appropriate.
Borrowing inspiration from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection, she prepared a variation of Tuscan White Bean soup with frizzled shallots and pancetta (Sheila’s variations are highlighted in bold). (Note: The pancetta and shallots add a bit of crunch. Definitely worthwhile). Enjoy.
White Bean Tuscan Soup with Frizzled Shallots and Pancetta
Yield 4 servings
A delicious soup that brings back the memories of Italy. Don't forget the "frizzled" shallots
- 8 oz of cannellini beans
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 good sprig each of parsley, thyme and rosemary (I added additional rosemary)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 head of escarole (chopped)
- A small rind of parmesan cheese (This addition makes any soup taste great!)
- 2 pints of chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
Ingredients for Frizzled Shallots and Pancetta Garnish
- 4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced into rings
- 3 oz thinly sliced pancetta or streaky bacon
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Preparation of the Tuscan Soup
- Soak beans overnight in twice their volume of cold water. Drain before cooking.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onion until is softens (5 minutes)
- Add escarole and cook down (2 minutes or so)
- Add garlic and continue to cook for one minute.
- Add the drained beans, parmesan rind, celery, herbs, bay leaf and black pepper (but no salt). Pour in the stock and stir well.
- When soup begins to boil, turn down heat to a gentle simmer and place the lid on the pot. Cook for 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally.
- Check to see if the beans are tender and then gently mush a few of the beans and continue for another 10 to 15 minutes or so.
- Add lemon juice and 2 Tbs of olive oil shortly before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove parmesan rind. Allow it to cool slightly and then cut in small pieces and return to soup.
Preparation of Frizzled Shallots and Pancetta
- Roll pancetta into a cigar shape then cut into fine shreds.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil at high temperature and add shallots cooking them for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and allow to drain.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan and fry the pancetta for 2 minutes or so. Drain.
When you are ready to serve the soup, sprinkle the shallots and pancetta over the soup. It doesn’t get much better than this!