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Beans, tomatoes, olive oil

This is a super-simple soup with Italian overtones. Make it in the summer or autumn with good, ripe, flavourful tomatoes.


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently just until it starts to colour.

Immediately add the drained beans and enough water to just cover them. Add the bay leaf and thyme, if using. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out about half the beans into a bowl, along with the bay and thyme. Use a handheld stick blender to purée the beans and liquid left in the pan. Return the reserved beans and reheat gently.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and heat through, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and finish with a generous trickle of your best olive oil.

Serving suggestions

A handful of basil leaves, roughly torn, won’t go amiss. Alternatively, if you happen to have a little good, homemade basil pesto to hand, dot a few blobs over the soup.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 sprig of thyme (optional)
  • 350g tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil to finish

This recipe is taken from...

Hugh’s Three Good Things