Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Soups»Italian»Beans»Tuscan White Bean Soup Recipe

For perfectly cooked, richly flavored beans, go against tradition: Forget about presoaking, and don’t spare the salt.

The Problem

Tuscan white bean soup often turns out to be full of mushy exploded beans or, on the other end of the spectrum, dried pebbly beans-both in an unmemorable broth.

The Goal

Tuscan white bean soup should be a testament to restraint, comprised of only two components: tender, creamy beans, and a broth perfumed with the fragrance of garlic and rosemary.

The Solution

Toss all those rules about how to prepare dried beans-don't bother with presoaking, do add salt. For the broth use onion, garlic, bay leaf, and pancetta to give the beans a welcome sweet and sour flavor. For the best herb flavor, infuse the broth off heat with rosemary. Finish the soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.