About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon, and Garlic | Main | Pasta e Fagioli - Pasta and Bean Soup »

White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley

I love cannellini. So I expected to enjoy this simple soup. For the last five weeks, Marcella’s less-is-more recipes have proven to be delightful. I’ve been repeatedly surprised at the flavor coaxed from simple ingredients and a little salt and pepper.


But this time, I was disappointed. I guess, as much as I love cannellini beans, I don’t love them quite this plain.

I’m used to treating them as pasta substitute; serving them with a flavorful puttanesca sauce, for example. Even in soup, I like more flavors. I make a hearty cannellini soup I call Cannellini Tricolore, with veggies the colors of the Italian flag.

After tasting, and deciding it was too bland, it was tempting to add something. A little crushed red pepper, maybe? How about some pancetta? Substitute basil for the parsley? Even a little of the old standby parma?

But, I resisted. I followed the rules and the recipe to the letter.

Tomorrow, however, is a different story. The leftovers will be combined with roasted sweet peppers, grilled shrimp, and some tender asparagus tips for lunch.

Comments (10)

Emily Hamblen:

Deborah, I make this soup every once in awhile. I love the simplicity of it. I do make sure to add enough salt and we always grate fresh parm/regg on top and serve with crusty toasted hunks of bread. I agree that it can be bland, but it is definitely something you can dress up -- a great foundation! :)

Deborah responds:
Hi Emily, We're so happy that you have become a regular reader and contributor. Thanks for following us.

I bet it will be great after you tinker with it.

Wanted to let you guys know that after I found fresh fava beans and artichokes at the Farmer's Market this past Saturday, I made Marcella's "La Frittedda" that's on page 454 of the cookbook. It'll be a while before you get to that page, but it's SUCH a delicious recipe!

Deborah responds:
Annie, I wonder whose recipe that is. Not mine. That means I don't have to wait more than a year to try it. :grin:


Honesty is the best policy and I appreciate your honesty! I too adore cannelloni beans.
I love how you all stick exactly to the recipe as Marcella wrote it down in her book.
Rah! Rah!
You're all doing such a great/fabulous job at blogging and posting your experiences. It is very much appreciated even if I don't reply every day.

Deborah responds:
Mindy, We are so grateful for your faithful reading and posting as we try to get the word out and the readership numbers up! Thanks for supporting us!


I haven't noticed yet that you chefs have done the Rice and Smothered Cabbage soup. I have noted in my book "very good." Think I will make it again soon. I am anxious to read the review of it when whomever among you makes it.

I agree with you about the bean and garlic soup

Deborah responds:
Jane, We're posting our cooking results on the recipes in strict order they appear in the book. As it happens Rice & Smothered Cabbage Soup was my recipe. So you can go to my "Tuesday" category and see the post.


I love that soup, too!! But I think you mean cannellini, not cannelloni. The beans are cannellini. Cannelloni are rolled-up pasta that you put a filling in.

Deborah responds:
Oh, my goodness, Charnee! Thanks so much for bringing my (continual) spelling error to my attention. Of course I mean cannellini, and in my head I'm saying "eee" not "oh". My only excuse is the disclaimer in my bio to the left. Note the last sentence. :grin:

Ray Anne:

I'm not ready to re-commit myself to cooking, but you all have a faithful, addicted reader in New York City.

Deborah responds:
Thanks, Ray Anne. If you aren't ready to re-commit to cooking, at least after freezing it you will always be able to drizzle that "fresh" olive oil on your take-out pizza! :grin:

Marcella Hazan:

In addressing the comment that the soup was bland, I must ask how can garlic deeply sauteed in very good quality extra virgin Italian olive oil be bland? And what kind of cannellini did you use? A tin of Progresso cannellini (incidentally cannellini is the bean, cannelloni is a pasta)will taste bland no matter how much chili pepper and shrimp you bury it under. The whole point of this exercise is to focus on the undistracted flavors of two very good ingredients, cannellini and olive oil. If one of the two lacks presence, you are wasting your time. Replacing flat-leaf parsley with basil? Oh my, oh my!

Deborah responds: Marcella, you just made my day! I've been secretly hoping to be the first one you take to task for my misconceptions!
I feel like a privleged student who just received my paper back with big red letters across the top -- NEEDS IMPROVEMENT!
You will be relieved to know that I soaked and cooked the bean. I didn't used canned.
I'll admit that I did spice up the leftovers with red pepper. BUT, not until the next day.
I also promise to try this recipe again someday.


O you lucky girl!

Emily Hamblen:

Do you own Marcella's book, "Marcella Says?" I was just flipping through it last night as I was soaking/cooking some beans. She says (p. 59) "When you are cooking in an established tradition some of the notions you go by consist of received wisdom that you do not think to question. I had always been told that you ought not to salt beans until they were cooked at least halfway, otherwise their skins could toughen and crack. It was advice that I followed and transmitted. Recently, however, I started salting my beans from the moment I soak them and not only have I discovered that it has no dire effect on their skins, but indeed it has a very beneficial effect on their taste." I am going to try this next time I soak my dried beans! :)

Deborah responds:
Interesting, Emily. I must admit I haven't read that book. But I will try the salt soak for the beans next time!

Jennifer Jacobs:

I've been cooking through Classics and More Classics and excited to have found your blog. I made this soup last week and adored it. But I am a bean lover! My 2 year old loved it too.

Deborah responds: Hi Jennifer!
Welcome. So happy you found the blog. Even though the project is complete, we are leaving it up so that Marcella can direct inquiries to it it. Thanks again for your comments, and have fun cooking through the books.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 4, 2010 7:36 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon, and Garlic .

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