Rosemary Garlic Italian Bean Pot

During the summer months, I so enjoy the lighter, fresher tastes of fresh basil, vine-ripened tomatoes, and crunchy cucumbers. But when the weather turns cooler, I am ready for something not only more substantial (stews, beef, hearty casseroles), but for the deeper, darker…. different fall/winter flavors. And, what do you know, what’s in season right now just seems right to eat.

I can get freshly harvested garlic in the stores and fresh rosemary can still be found out in my garden. The two combined make a marriage of wonderful flavor. They go perfectly with so many dishes that just sound right for a chilly night.

This soup is a very simple, basic bean soup using techniques gleaned from authentic Italian cookbooks. I have been learning to love the simplistic beauty of dishes like this. They are not labor intensive, use good quality ingredients, and they use those ingredients well. Dishes like this also help my budget as they are very frugal. Like I mentioned in a post recently, it’s peasant food, but I hardly feel deprived.

Don’t let the anchovies deter you. For a vegetarian/vegan option, leave it out, but for the rest of you, it really does add a subtle depth to the dish that will be missed if you leave it out. It doesn’t add a fishy taste, just more flavor. This is one of the tips I have learned from some of my reading that has really improved my cooking.

One more tip, since you won’t use all of the anchovies in a jar with one recipe, I like to freeze the leftovers. They keep longer this way, and only take a few minutes to defrost enough to use, if left by the warm stove.

Rosemary Garlic Italian Bean Pot

Feel free to use what type of beans you prefer. There is no fast rule. Using just white beans would be beautiful and delicious as well. Some of the beans aren’t exactly Italian, but I understand that they are good substitutes for some of the Italian beans that aren’t widely available in the United States.

Part one:
1 cup of pinto beans
1/2 cup of small red beans
1/2 cup of kidney beans
1/2 cup of small white beans

Part two:
1-2 stems of rosemary, washed
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, smashed, skin on
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 cups of water

Part Three:
Three large garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped, or add more rosemary.
3 anchovy fillets, chopped roughly (you could use more, if desired)
1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil (the olive adds richness. Add to taste and budget preference)

1-The night before, combine all of the beans in a large bowl, and cover with plenty of warm water. Cover and let soak overnight.

2-The next day, drain and rinse your beans. Place in large pot with the ingredients listed under part two. The rosemary, garlic and bay leaves, add a more subtle flavor to the beans as they cook. The oil gives the beans a good texture. Bring to a boil, and simmer at a very low simmer until all the beans are soft. It took me about one and a half hours.

3-Once the beans are soft, fish out the rosemary stems, garlic and bay leaves. Heat the olive oil, and add the chopped anchovy fillets. Using a wooden spoon to smash and chop at the anchovies until they start to disintegrate into the oil. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for about a minute making sure to keep stirring and not letting the garlic brown (it will make it bitter). While the former rosemary, garlic and bay leaf adds a subtle flavor that permeate the beans more, this step adds a brighter, stronger flavor.

4-Taste test, and salt and pepper as needed. I find that bean soups such as this are actually better served slightly cooled. You can’t taste the flavors as well when it is piping hot. Let cool slightly and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or similar cheese, if desired.

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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. Sarah says

    Yum! Looks fantastic (and it is hard to photograph beans so they look tasty and not just a big mishmash of brown! Great job!) . . . I can almost smell it through the computer!

    I keep a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge just for occasions like this!


  2. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen says

    It looks delicious! I make a similar soup with white beans only and I add the rind of a parmesan or pecorino cheese for a little added flavor. I think your addition of anchovies is brilliant.

  3. Michelle says

    MMmmmm you know, I try to stay away from eating animal products, but a small amount of anchovy is so much taste! It’s not the same to me as, say, eating a chicken sandwich. So I’m going to have to go ahead and give this recipe a go! Thank you 🙂

  4. Sarah says

    I’m just curious why you did not use chicken broth in place of the 8 cups of water. Would that work do you think to make it more nourishing or would it impart too much flavor and change the taste entirely?

    It looks and sounds fabulous! I am going to make it Wednesday and can’t wait to try it!


  5. Kimi Harris says

    Hi Sarah,
    Great question. I make chicken broth almost every week, but I never seem to have enough to go into all of the dishes I want too. For that reason alone, with dishes, like this, that don’t necessarily have to have it, I will leave it out.

    But I think that it would be a great addition! I think that it would give it a well rounded flavor and it would definitely add more nourishing elements to the soup.

    If you use broth, do let me know how it goes. I think it would be delicious. 🙂

  6. Mnq says

    This sounds great! Must accompaniments: some sharp cheese and fresh roasted garlic bread. Thanks for the recipe. I look forward to trying it the next dreary day we get.

  7. Heather says

    Thanks so much, Kimi. It’s been awhile since I have been on your blog, I’ve been so busy, but you never fail to present great recipes. I can’t wait to try this one.

    Also, I’m salivating over the picture of the pumpkin pie ice cream. It looks amazing.

  8. Karen says

    Great recipe! I was just looking for a good bean dish as we are trying to add more beans to our diet. Does your Rosemary bush survive the winter? I just got a Rosemary bush this spring and have it outside. We live in NE PA so I am hoping it will survive the winter.
    You do a great job!

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