Slowly sautéing the fennel and leeks brings out great sweetness that is balanced by earthy white beans and our peppery Nocellara.
1 medium bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 medium leeks, chopped in 1" pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large sprig of thyme
6 cups of cooked white beans (see note)
1 parmigiano rind (optional, see note)
2 1/2 cups of water
Smoked paprika, to taste for serving
Crisped pancetta (optional, for serving)
Croutons (optional, for serving)
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat Olio Taibi Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat.
Add fennel, leeks, salt, and thyme sprig. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes until vegetables are very soft.
Add beans, parmigiano rind, and water.
Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until leeks have all but melted and fennel is very very soft.
Discard thyme sprig and parmigiano rind.
Using an immersion blender, blend smooth until smooth. If needed, or if you prefer a thinner soup, add more water to preference.
Taste for salt level and adjust if needed.
Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with smoked paprika, garnish with pancetta or croutons is you like, but definitely drizzle on a generous amount of Olio Taibi Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Parmigiano rinds add great savoriness and depth of flavor. Keep leftover rinds from parmigiano or grana cheese in your freezer to add to soups and stews.
Use a small white bean like cannellini or great northern. For 6 cups cooked beans, you'll want about 4 15oz cans of beans. Drain and rinse beans before adding.
If you like to cook beans from dried, you can either use a pound of cooked white beans of your choice (drained), or...start fennel and leeks as per recipe instructions, but instead of adding cooked beans and 2 1/2 cups water with parmigiano rind and thyme- add 1 pound dried beans and an additional 2 quarts of water and 1 TBS salt. Allow to simmer until beans are soft (about 2 hours if you did not presoak), and then proceed with recipe.