White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
6 cups cooked cannellini or other white beans—either canned or cooked from 2 cups dried (recommended)
Salt
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1 cup homemade broth or water (or 1/3 cup canned beef stock diluted with 2/3 cup water)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Thick grilled or toasted slices of crusty bread (optional)

Put the oil and chopped garlic in a soup pot and turn on the heat to medium. Cook the garlic, stirring it, until is becomes colored a very pale gold.

Add the drained cooked or canned beans, a pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 5 to 6 minutes.

Take about 1/2 cup of beans from the pot and puree them through a food mill back into the pot, together with all the broth. Alternately, use a blender, loosening with a bit of the broth.

Simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes, taste, and correct for salt and pepper.

Swirl in the chopped parsley, and turn off the heat. Ladle over the grilled bread slices into individual soup bowls.

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