The Gleeful Gourmand: Tuscan Bean Soup

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tuscan Bean Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup 

Fall is finally here! The trees here in Richmond are just beginning to shimmer with the tinge of yellow in their race to see who can put on the most spectacular show. Facebook statuses were filling up with love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes before Summer had even come to a true conclusion. The days are milder, but Virginia weather is kind of whacky during the Fall. It's cool and crisp one day, and hot the next; back and forth until Winter comes around. Regardless, it's soup season once again, and I have one I think you'll really enjoy. It's super easy to make, filling, healthy, and delicious. It also makes quite a bit, so you'll have plenty of leftovers. My mom made it for us when we were kids, and I still love it today (and so do my kids!).


What's so great about this soup is that you make it in a slow cooker, and it's ready by dinnertime. I don't use my Crockpot that much. I actually have only a few uses for it: Making this soup, making the occasional pot roast, making apple cider, and my favorite, Hot Buttered Rum. But now we've skipped ahead to Christmas, haven't we? Anyway, with the luscious flavors of tomatoes, Italian spices, and good red wine, the aroma of this soup will have you salivating all day, and it's perfect for those cool Fall nights. I give you Tuscan Bean Soup:

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 1/4 cup dry Great Northern Beans
4 cups water (to soak beans in)
2 cups water (optional)
1 14 oz. can whole tomatoes, cut up
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1 medium yellow squash
3/4 lb. Italian sausage*
1 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• Night before - Rinse and soak beans, cover overnight.
• Next morning - Drain and rinse beans, pick over. Combine undrained tomatoes, beef broth, rest of ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) in Crockpot. Cook for 6-8 hours on high, or 11-12 hours on low.
• Serve with your favorite bread, and Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. Yields 5-6 bowls.

* Notes: I actually use frozen, pre-cut yellow squash to save time, about half a bag. I also use Al Fresco Italian Chicken Sausage (it's nitrate free and organic). For bread, I actually use a thin-crust Boboli pizza, lightly brushed with olive oil. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning and liberally shave parmesan on top. Bake on a pizza stone at 425˚ for about 8 minutes. Enjoy!


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