Keep soffritto — the Italian base for soups, stews and sauces — in your freezer and this healthy comfort meal is minutes away. Perfect on a winter day and easy to take with you on a mountain vacation.
White Beans and Toast
- 3 medium onions
- 1 red bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. pepper (plus more to taste)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 2 x 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
- thick sliced whole wheat bread (1-2 slices per person)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (optional for vegans)
Making the soffritto (or skip this step if you have some on hand):
- Finely chop onions and red pepper (or pulse them separately in a food processor if you have one; be careful not to puree them). Combine and mix well in a medium bowl.
- Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion/pepper mix to the pan and add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Cook for 30 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are softened.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic, and continue cooking for a few minutes until the paste turns a deep red color.
- Remove all the soffritto to a separate bowl to cool, keeping only a 1/2 C. for this meal. Once cooled, you can package and freeze the sofrito in 1/2 C servings for future meals.
Making the beans once the soffritto is done:
- Heat the soffritto and beans over medium-high heat stirring often (only takes about 1 min).
- Add 3 cups of the broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally while it thickens slightly (about 3-4 minutes although I find it doesn’t thicken very much).
- Add the tomato halves and continue cooking 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes soften a little.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm
Preparing the cheesy toast:
This is all about how you want this meal to taste and how much of a rush you are in. Fast way: Toast your bread, then place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan and place under broiler until it melts. Alternatively you can run the bread with a halved garlic clove, then bake it with the cheese on top at 375ºF for about 5 minutes. Either will work well — the key is making sure the bread is well dried out so that it doesn’t get too soggy when you cover it with beans.
Place individual servings of toast in the bottom of flat soup bowl. Cover with about a cup of bean mixture and sprinkle parmesan and (optional) chopped parsley on top.
- Keep soffritto in the freezer to make this a super fast week day meal; as long as you have beans and parmesan on hand, the only fresh ingredient you will need is cherry tomatoes
- There are many variations on soffritto, including the addition of carrots and celery but I think of that as more a french mire poix mix; several options written about on Food 52
- Make sure the toast is dried out a little (either by baking or toasting) or your meal will end up soggy
- Easy to make this vegan by just eliminating the parmesan although you might want to sprinkle some salt flakes on the top just of each serving
- Goes well with grilled sausage or grilled chicken if you’re looking for more protein
Based on a recipe from my go-to resource: Epicurious. Thanks Epicurious.