Cannellini Bean Soup with Rosemary Olive Oil

Serves 6

2 15 oz. cans navy or cannellini beans (with liquid)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced
1 green bell pepper, roasted peeled, and diced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives (or other imported black olives) pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 4-5″ sprigs of fresh rosemary

Warm two tablespoons of oil and the rosemary sprigs in a small pot. When rosemary begins to sizzle, remove from heat, and let cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour. When cool, remove rosemary sprigs. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery for about 12 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and chopped rosemary and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add beans and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine red and green peppers, olives, parsley, red wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

Remove beans from heat, cool slightly. Puree one-third of the bean mixture and return to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with rosemary oil. Place a spoonful of the peppers and olives in the center of each bowl as a garnish. Serve immediately.