Tuscan Bean Soup (America's Test Kitchen)

Total Time
9hrs 45mins
Prep 8 hrs
Cook 1 hr 45 mins

From _America's Test Kitchen_ episode 908, "Soups of the Day." Salting the COOKING water makes the beans mealy, but salting the SOAKING water makes the skins more tender but also less likely to break. If you skip the soaking, you will need to cook the beans 45-50 minutes longer.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • table salt
  • 1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb kale (about 8 cups loosely packed) or 1 lb collard greens, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ground black pepper
  • 8 slices country white bread, each 1 1/4 inches thick, broiled until golden brown on both sides and rubbed with garlic clove (optional)


  1. Add 3 tbsp table salt to 4 qt water and stir until dissolved. Add the picked over, rinsed beans and leave them to soak overnight (8 to 24 hours) at room temperature.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until it smokes. Add pancetta and cook 6-10 minutes, until the edges are crisp and browned. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until very soft and a little browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  3. Drain water from beans and discard. Rinse well and add beans to the pot. Add broth, water and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to a preheated 250°F oven. Let cook 45-60 minutes.
  4. Add kale. Drain and rinse tomatoes, then add those to the pot as well. Re-cover and cook until beans are tender, about another 30 minutes. Add rosemary sprig and submerge it in the soup. Let stand off heat for 15 minutes, then remove and discard rosemary and bay leaves. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with garlic toasts.


Most Helpful

Excellent, hearty soup. Have a bowl of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top. This freezes well.

Likes to cook December 31, 2013

Oh my goodness! This is one of the best soups I've ever had. The first time I made it I didn't salt the water. Thereafter I had to salt the soup every time I reheated. The second time I made it I followed the directions and salted the soaking water. What a difference! I didn't have to do anything else to the soup, but enjoy. Obviously the soup is better the next day, but really, really food.

Velvet 1230 March 17, 2013

A hearty, stick to your ribs soup. I cooked the beans from scratch, omitted the pancetta and used spinach instead of kale since that's what I had on hand. Excellent taste, will make often.

gemini08 June 27, 2011

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