A dietary staple in Italian cuisine, cannellini beans bring tremendous flavor to this soup. Make it a day ahead of time -- it will taste even better when you're ready to eat it.From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

Makes 8 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Rinse the beans well and place in a large pot. Cover the beans with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Allow to soak for 1 hour.

  • Place the olive oil, onions, and garlic in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, after about 30 seconds, add the carrots and celery and continue to cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 3 minutes.

  • Add 6 cups of the soaked beans, cover with 10 cups of cold water, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender and creamy, at least 1 1/2 but up to 2 1/2 hours. Add water if necessary to achieve desired consistency; the soup should be thick. Add the salt halfway through the cooking. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, freshly black ground black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Reviews (8)

299 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 47
  • 4 star values: 74
  • 3 star values: 113
  • 2 star values: 53
  • 1 star values: 11
Rating: 5 stars
Came out delicious! Changed a few things. Used 3 sprigs of rosemary instead of basil, used 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, besides water used 2 cups L/S chicken stock, handful of baby spinach, put 3 slices of bacon crumbed and left fat in pot to cook onions, garlic etc., only used 1 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning. That's it!!!!!
Rating: Unrated
I agree with the previous poster. The soup is pretty bland and I used chicken stock as well. What made the soup for me was sticking a ham hock in there. I soaked the beans for 24 hours prior to cooking but it made no difference in time. Unless you use a pressure cooker it will take a minimum of 2 hours for the beans to cook. The next time I make this I will pull 2 cups of beans and soup out after an hour and a half and puree them in a blender and then add them back into the soup.
Rating: Unrated
Just made this and it's delicious. The key is the parmesan and extra virgin olive oil it is served with. My daughter is eating it right now and loves it. Will definitely make this again. I followed the recipe exactly. Thank you.
Rating: Unrated
I added bacon to this soup. I first fried the bacon in the pot then removed it leaving the drippings. I then added the crumbled bacon once the soup was complete. Delicious!
Rating: Unrated
Wish I had a way of editing my comment!!! Cannellini is spelled like so! Capitalize the I.....
Rating: Unrated
Love this recipe. i could eat cannelini beans cold on a plate with olive oil and Calamata olives and a hunk of cheese and good bread. The canned beans are fine wih me. Have this soup going in a slow cooker, and the whole house smells good.
Rating: Unrated
I used canned beans, which shortened cooking time a lot. Also added vegetable stock and a bit of red bell pepper. Turned out nice!
Rating: Unrated
I have to confess that this is not my favorite of Lucinda's recipes. It was bland and really pretty much tasteless after a 2 1/2 hour cooking. The Parmesan cheese and the olive oil helped a bit but it needed a meat stock base to give it some heft, I think.