White Bean Soup with Fennel Seeds and Broccoli Rabe
This luscious puréed bean soup is like many served throughout Italy. The soup can be prepared in advance; but the greens should be sautéed just before serving.
Yield: serves 6-8
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- 2 1⁄2 cups dried Great Northern white beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1⁄2 tsp. whole fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, or Swiss chard, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- In a 4-qt. saucepan, combine the beans with 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the beans until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 2 cups of their cooking liquid.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the fennel seeds and onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and 6 cups fresh water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the beans are falling apart, about 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standard blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain the broccoli rabe and transfer to a bowl.
- In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the chile flakes and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Divide the soup among bowls and top each with some of the broccoli rabe and a drizzle of more olive oil before serving.