Maria Loi’s Cannellini Bean Soup (Fasolada)
1 pound dried cannellini beans
8 cups lukewarm water
3 medium tomatoes, grated (on the large holes of a box grater)
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, cut crosswise into ½-inch rounds
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
¼ cup of olive oil
1 red chile pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (no stems), and more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. The night before you plan to serve the soup, place the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 or 3 inches. (Soaking overnight will shorten the cooking time the next day.)
2. On the following day, drain the beans. Add them to a large pot and cover with water. Cook the beans, uncovered, for 30 minutes, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam. Drain the beans and discard the cooking water.
3. Return the beans to the pot, add the lukewarm water, and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomatoes, onions, and carrots. Stir the tomato paste into the olive oil. Stir this mixture into the pot of beans and vegetables. Cook the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the chile, celery, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to boil over medium heat until the beans and vegetables are tender, another 20 minutes.
5. Serve the soup garnished with parsley.