White Bean Soup With Wild Mushrooms and chive mascarpone

White Bean Soup With Wild Mushrooms and chive mascarpone

This elegant soup is just a simple purée of white beans, but when
topped with earthy sautéed wild mushrooms and a dollop of herbed
mascarpone cheese, it becomes a refined first course. The trick to
getting a smooth, silky texture is to purée the beans and vegetables
with only a small amount of the cooking liquid first and then to slowly
pour in more liquid until you get a nice, creamy consistency.

How to make:

1 T bs. fennel seeds
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin
olive oil
1 small sprig rosemary (leaves
1 chile d’árbol (or other small,
hot dried chile), stemmed
and crumbled
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel
1 T bs. plus 1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 cups dried cannellini beans,
picked through and rinsed
K osher salt
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 T bs. minced shallots
1 T bs. minced fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T bs. unsalted butter
1/2 lb. fresh wild mushrooms,
stems trimmed, caps thinly
sliced (such as shiitake,
oyster mushrooms, or
1 T bs. chopped fresh flat-leaf

  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until
    they release their aroma and are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Pound
    them coarsely in a mortar or grind them coarsely in a spice grinder.
  2. Heat a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in
    1/2 cup olive oil and add the rosemary leaves and crumbled chile. Let
    them sizzle in the oil for about 1 minute. Add the onion, fennel, fennel
    seeds, and 1 Tbs. of the thyme and cook until the onion is softened,
    3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the beans to the pot and cook for a few more minutes, stirring
    to coat well. Add 3 quarts water and bring to a boil over high heat.
    Turn the heat to low and place a round of parchment over the beans
    to keep them underwater. Simmer, stirring occasionally. After
    30 minutes, add 11/2 Tbs. salt to the beans and continue cooking at a
    low simmer until the beans are tender, another 1 to 11/2 hours.
  4. While the soup is cooking, stir the mascarpone, shallots, and chives
    in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with plastic
    wrap, and refrigerate.
  5. Separate the bean mixture from the liquid by straining the soup
    over a bowl. Put half the bean mixture in a blender with 1/2 cup of the
    liquid (you’ll need to purée the soup in batches). Process on the
    lowest speed until the mixture is puréed. With the blender running at
    medium speed, slowly pour in more of the liquid until the soup is the
    consistency of heavy cream. Turn the speed up to high and blend until
    completely smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside and repeat with the
    second batch. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
    Keep the soup warm in a pot on the stove. If making ahead, let cool
    completely before refrigerating.
  6. Sauté the mushrooms: Turn on the exhaust fan. Heat a 12-inch
    skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the remaining 2 Tbs. olive
    oil and the butter. When the butter melts, scatter the mushrooms
    into the pan. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook the
    mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender, browned, and a
    little crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the remaining 1 tsp.
    thyme and remove from the heat.
  7. Ladle the hot soup into warm bowls. Scatter the warm mushrooms
    over the top and add a dollop of the mascarpone. —Suzanne Goin


The soup and chive mascarpone
can be made up to 1 day
in advance and refrigerated.
The mushrooms can be sautéed
a few hours ahead. Reheat
the soup and mushrooms just
before serving.
If making the soup ahead,
save the leftover cooking liquid.
The soup will thicken as it sits
and may need to be thinned
with more of the liquid before
serving. If necessary, adjust the
seasonings as well.