This shop featuring my recipe for Tuscan bean soup has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and ConAgra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. #MangiaTonight #CollectiveBias
Do you know the last time I ate outside in February? That would be nineteen ninety never.
But it’s a little funky in Chicago right now, and that has my husband and I dreaming of the day we retire to the Italian countryside, and I’m not joking. We’ve talked about it since we got back from our last vacation to Italy six years ago, and it remains our dream.
The weather is… well, it’s not Chicago, and the pace of life suits us perfectly. Just as important in my mind, the food blows my mind. These are the flavors that fuel my soul, and I enjoy them whenever I can. We took a cooking class during our Italy sojourn, and the memory of those Tuscan beans sticks with me.
Not realizing February was going to be short sleeve weather in Chicago (hey – we’re mid 60s!), I wanted a thick, hearty soup. I decided to take that recipe I learned from our Italian hostess and alter it to make Tuscan bean soup. I knew that would create a nice dinner with my husband, something we don’t do often enough.
When I headed to Mariano’s to pick up my fresh sage, onions, garlic, and Cannellini beans, I decided to add to the menu. I already planned a little crostini to accompany the soup, but pasta called my name. I decided to try out the Bertolli® Frozen Meals to make my prep for this impromptu date night easier. Mariano’s had a varied selection, but the Bertolli Chicken Florentine & Farfalle Pasta stole my heart. The bigger win? During the month of February at all Kroger banner stores, Bertolli Meals for Two will be the lowest price of the year.
Once I got home, I popped the Bertolli Chicken Florentine & Farfalle Pasta into my freezer and started prep on my soup. With just ten minutes before serving, I knew I could get the pasta ready to eat. All you need to do is add the package contents to a nonstick skillet and heat on medium high for 9-11 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I refused to have another oops from too many things going on in my kitchen this time and forget an ingredient in my second dish! We’re pretending the sugarless molten chocolate cake incident never happened.
How to Make Creamy Tuscan Bean Soup
Start by heating a heavy pot over medium heat. Chop your onion. Once the pan gets hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and then the onion and sage. Let the onion cook until translucent while you drain and rinse one can of cannellini beans and open the second.
Add the two cans of beans to your pot – one rinsed and one with the juice – along with the pepper, the rest of the olive oil, and smashed garlic. Not sure how to do that? Check this out – it’s the fastest way to peel your garlic, and it works to smash it at the same time. No special tools required!
After this cooks down for about ten minutes, add your chicken stock. Let this simmer away for a half hour or so while you prep your crostini. If you have more time, let it cook on low heat for up to four hours. You could even do this part in your slow cooker, if you choose. If it gets too thick, just add a bit more chicken stock.
Once your Tuscan bean soup has simmered and you’re close to dinner time, fish out the sage leaves and toss them. Add the mixture to your blender in two batches for safety. When working with hot liquids, never fill your blender more than two-thirds full, and always hold the lid down with a kitchen towel to prevent a pressure pop from the steam that builds up. This is one time where I don’t use my immersion blender but go for the real power to ensure my soup is silky smooth.
Once it’s blended, serve the Tuscan bean soup immediately with your crostini. This keeps in your fridge for two to three days and is actually better on day two.
Make Your Crostini
While your soup simmers, prep your crostini. I could have picked up a gorgeous loaf of fresh bread at Mariano’s, but my family begged me for homemade bread. I gave in last night and made two baguettes, so I used my second baguette for the crostini.
Slice the loaf about a half inch thick on the bias so you get a slice wider than the actual loaf because of your diagonal cut. I made eight for my family of four, but you can make as many or as few as you choose. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and place on a silpat lined baking tray.
Broil for 2-3 minutes, just until the tops start to change color. Remove from the oven and flip, then repeat the process. You want the outsides beautifully crispy but the interior still soft, so be sure not to overcook them.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, peel another clove of garlic and gently rub the tops of your crostini with the garlic to give them flavor. It doesn’t take much, but it adds the perfect touch to your dinner al fresco and the creamy taste of your Tuscan bean soup!
Set your crostini aside until the remainder of your dinner is ready.
Enjoy Your Dinner
Because your prep happens so seamlessly with this dinner, it’s a low stress way to enjoy a date night at home. Start the Tuscan bean soup, then prep your crostini. Just before your soup finishes, heat your Bertolli Frozen Meals, and everything comes together at once.
With this gorgeous February day, we ate outside and enjoyed the weather we probably won’t see again for months. After all, Saturday’s forecast includes snow. My husband couldn’t get over the flavor of the Bertolli Chicken Florentine & Farfalle Pasta. Bertolli’s motto of “Don’t just eat. Mangia.” fit perfectly with our fully Italian dinner. It turned an everyday meal of soup into something truly special with so little effort.
And that Tuscan bean soup? Dress it up when you serve it. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and shave some Parmesan into the bowl for added flavor. Yes, shave – use your vegetable peeler to create the perfect flakes that look like you’re enjoying a restaurant meal.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out these other Bertolli Frozen Meals inspired recipe pairings.
Have you ever had Tuscan bean soup? What’s your favorite soup and pasta combination?
This creamy Tuscan bean soup is naturally gluten free and dairy free. It's easy to make and is a great main course served with crostini or as an appetizer to accompany a larger meal.
- 1 onion
- 1/4 c olive oil, divided
- 1 small bunch fresh sage
- 2 15 oz cans cannellini beans
- 1/2 t pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 c chicken stock
- Heat heavy pan on medium heat. Chop onion while it heats. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan with onion and sage. Stir occasionally, cooking until translucent.
- Rinse and drain one can of cannellini beans and add it to the pot. Add the second can with its juices. Add pepper, the remainder of the olive oil, and garlic. Cook for about ten minutes, then add the chicken stock and simmer for a half hour.
- Fish out sage leaves, then puree in a high powered blender in batches, being mindful not to put too much hot liquid in at one time.
- Serve immediately. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over each bowl and shave Parmesan into it.
- This keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days and tastes better on day two.
To make this vegan, you can use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. In the summer, add extra stock to thin it out and make it a lighter soup to enjoy year round.
Bertolli® is a registered trademark of R&B Foods, Inc., used under license.