Bacon, Tomato & White Bean Soup

Aired October 24, 2012

Serves 4
1 tablespoon EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 pound smoky bacon, chopped
2 red or white onions, finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced
2 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 28- to 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups tomato pure or passata
2 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained
Grated Pecorino Romano, for sprinkling
A loaf of bread (such as ciabatta), charred, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, for mopping

In a medium Dutch oven, heat EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.

Add the onions, garlic, chile, bay leaves, thyme, a little salt and lots of pepper. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato pure and chicken stock, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Stir in the beans and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Serve the soup in shallow bowls. Top with the cooked bacon, a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of cheese. Serve with the bread alongside for mopping.

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