Pancetta and bread crumbs garnish warm white bean soup seasoned with sage and rosemary in classic Tuscan fashion. See the recipe for Pureed White Bean Soup ». Paolo Destefanis

In Tuscany, we savored a version of this soup that used sorana beans—rare and expensive, they’re hard to find even in Italy. Zolfini or cannellini beans are a fine substitute.

Puréed White Bean Soup Puréed White Bean Soup
In Tuscany, we savored a version of this soup that used rare sorana beans, but you can substitute zolfini or cannellini beans.
Yield: serves 4-6


  • 1 12 cups dried zolfini or cannellini beans
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice country bread, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 1 oz. pancetta, cut into short, thick strips


  1. Put beans in a large earthenware casserole, cover with cold water, and set aside to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain; then add, sage, rosemary, and 6 cups cold water, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 1⁄2 hour. Season to taste with salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until bean skins are tender and interiors are soft, about 1-2 hours more.
  2. Puree beans along with their cooking liquid in a food processor until smooth. (If puree is too thick, thin with a little water or vegetable broth.) Return soup to casserole, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bread and pancetta, and fry until bread is golden and pancetta is lightly browned, 6-7 minutes.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with croutons and pancetta, and drizzle soup with remaining 4 tbsp. oil.