Garlicky White Beans and Broth

Beans are the poster child for frugal, healthy cooking. Prepared properly they are nourishing to the body, and filling as well!

This week had quickly progressed without me noticing it, when I found myself trying to figure out a meal to feed some ladies coming over the next day for lunch. I found a bag of cannellini beans (one of my favorite beans) in the pantry and then found a recipe for them in Lidia’s Family Table Cookbook, by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. I love this Italian cookbook because not only are all of the recipes very good, but they are often so simple! Her recipe for Garlicky White Beans and Broth is amazingly simple and so good!

Believe me, I was sorely tempted to add in more ingredients while I was cooking this, but with GREAT self control, I tried it just like her recipe called for. My friends and I were amazed at how much flavor it had for so few ingredients! They thought for sure that it had a ham hock, or chicken broth in it because it had such a nice flavor. You can eat it just like it is (like we did) or use it as a base for adding in veggies, pasta, chicken.

This is what she has to say about it.

“This is as simple as soup-making can be. It is nothing more than a pot of beans with cooking broth. But it has everything you need in a soup base:good body and texture and a mellow, sturdy flavor foundation. A bit of excitement gets blended in at the end with a soffritto of garlic lightly caramelized in olive oil. The result is not an ordinary pot of beans, but one in which you can simmer any vegetable or pasta and end up with a great soup. “

Garlicky White Beans and Broth

For cooking the beans:
1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) dry cannellini or other small dried white beans, soaked overnight.
4 quarts cold water, plus more if needed
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

For the Garlicky Soffritoo
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 big garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teasppon dried peperoncino (hot red pepper flakes)

Cooking the Beans:
Drain and rinse the beans and pum them in a pot with the water, bay leaves, and olive oil. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. When the water is at a full bol, set the cover ajar, adjust the heat to maintain a steady gentle boiling, and coof for an hour more, until the beans are tender.
Stir in the salt, uncover, and continue cooking at a bubbling boil for another hour or more, until the beans and broth have reduced to 3 quarts. Lower the heat as the liquid evaporates, and the soup base thickens, stirring now and then to prevent scorching.

Flavoring the Base with the Soffritto:
When the soup base if sufficiently reduced, make the soffritto. Heat the olive oil and the sliced garlic in the skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes or so, shaking the pan now and then, until the slices are sizzling. Drop in the peperoncino, stir with the garlic and cook another minute, or until the garlic is just starting to color.
From the soup pot, ladle out a cup of the simmering bean broth and pour it into the skillet. Let it sizzle and start to boil, shake and stir up the soffritto, and cook it for a couple of minutes in teh broth. Then pour it all back into the bean pot, scraping in every bit of the soffritto, or just rinse the skillet out with more broth. Simmer the soup base for another 5 mintues with the soffritto, then remover from the heat.

The base is ready for a finished soup now; or let the whole pot cool, pick out and discard teh bay leaves, and keep the soup refrigerated for 3-4 days or freeze, n filled and tightly sealed containers for 4-to 6 months.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. aracely says

    i have to admit it didn’t really look good on first basis… kind of gooey!!
    but it was declicious…thanx

    im vegetarian so beans are one of my protein ways

  2. dorothy says

    I love white beans, so this looks delicious to me. I’m adding this one to my menu for the week, thanks!

  3. Cricket says

    Beans Beans they’re good for the heart – and they’re CHEAP I’m going to make this recipe this week! Oh and I just LOVE your photos. Makes me hungry. Love Garlic, too, so I’m looking forward to this. Thanks again! – Cricket

  4. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management says

    I just made this tonight and it was absolutely fabulous! I was a little skeptical, but it was really wonderful. Just like you said it would be. And with grocery prices being what they are these days, I was excited about how CHEAP it was. I did add some collard greens that had been cooked and then sauteed in bacon drippings–southern influence right there for you. I tried it both before and after the addition and they were both great.

  5. Stan Hoover says

    This is good stuff all by itself, you’re right. Making my second batch tonight, via overnight crockpot. I woke up a while ago (~1:00AM) to the wonderful smell of beans and decided to get up and add the garlic RIGHT THEN! I added a little leftover slow-smoked Chuck Roast that’s been in the freezer…for flavor. Threw in a diced onion while the garlic was browning. I’ll freeze this in pint mason jars for grab and go lunches. I’m thinking of getting a cheap 2nd crock pot to put in the back room at work, to slowly heat up jars of soups, stews, and chili during the morning-for a fast and easy lunch solution for my wife and me. We work together most days, and I’d like to minimize the use of the microwave.

    I didn’t know you were rerlated to Joshua Harris by marriage. Neat!


  6. Madeleine says

    This was really GOOD! My 4 and 1 yr olds loved it! We have just embarked on the GAPS program so I used one quart of lamb broth and otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was great. Thank you.

  7. says

    This recipe is so simple, so few ingredients and yet has so much flavor! It’s such a great healthy option. I don’t adjust the recipe at all. My
    Husband loves it and asks me to make it all the time. Thank you for sharing. It’s a keeper!!


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