Even though I own all of her books, I found this online on Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa site. As I’ve mentioned before, whenever I heat/steam a ham, I always keep and freeze the liquid/broth/juice, so I used that in place of some of the chicken broth here, I also added some chopped ham that I had – not necessary, but super tasty – enjoy!
1 lb. dried white cannellini beans – I used what I had which was a combo of white navy and Great Northern – after being well rinsed, the beans will need to be soaked overnight in a large bowl covered by a good 2 inches of water
1/4 c. olive oil AND 1/2 to 1 c. chopped pancetta (or bacon)
2 c. EACH chopped leeks, onion, carrot AND celery
2 T. minced garlic AND 2 t. fresh minced rosemary
8 to 10 c. good chicken broth (or ham broth, or a combo)
1 T. kosher salt AND 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. + chopped (leftover) ham (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan and good crusty bread for serving
In a large Dutch oven, heat up the olive oil and sauté the pancetta for a few minutes until browned, then add in the leeks, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary and continue to cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add in the (drained) beans, 8 cups of broth, salt and pepper and bring it all to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about an hour and a half until the beans are tender, and remember to give it a stir once in a while. Add in the chopped ham if you have it and give it time to warm through. Allow the soup to sit off heat for about 15 minutes, taste for seasonings and add more broth if you feel it’s too thick. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and thick slices of crusty bread for a perfect winter meal.