2(14.5 oz) cansCannellini BeansUNDRAINED (can substitute great northern beans)*
1Parmesan Cheese Rind
¼ - ½CupHeavy Cream(can substitute Half and Half)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1TBSfresh Parsley leaves– chopped, or more to taste
½CupParmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
Place a large stock pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until bacon is crisp and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving bacon dripping in pan. Set aside.
You want about 1 tablespoon of drippings in the pot, if you do not have enough fat, add extra virgin olive oil to pan until you have about 1 tablespoon of liquid (just eyeball this).
Increase heat to medium high. Add shallots, carrot, and celery to pot. Cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; cook until aromatic, 30 seconds - 1 minute.
Add white wine to deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine is reduced to 2 tablespoon, about 3-4 minutes
Add the Chicken stock, beans with their liquid, rosemary sprigs, bay leaf and parmesan rind (if using).
Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Use tongs to remove rosemary sprigs, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Add in the bacon, half and half*, chopped parsley leaves and grated parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning. *Use ½ Cup for a creamier, richer texture and taste
Options To Finish:1. Serve As Is. 2. Use and Immersion blender to blend until desired consistency. I gently and carefully blended about ½ of the soup for a slightly creamy yet rustic soup. 3. Remove a couple ladlefuls of beans, puree remaining soup, add back in removed beans. 4. Remove, in batches, to a blender and puree until desired consistency.
To serve: Ladle soup into bread bowls and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.
If you have an aversion to garlic, you might want to cut the amount of garlic in half, or adjust the amount to your liking.
DO NOT drain the beans! The liquid contains starch and helps thicken the soup. However, the liquid does contain sodium, so keep that in mind when adding salt to the soup!