This Risotto Soup is a one-pot dinner miracle that is as gorgeous to look at as it delicious to eat. And the smell … oh the irresistible, warming smell of saffron, chilli, bay leaves and tomatoes slow-simmering makes this Butter Bean and Minestrone perfect for dinner parties on cold evenings or just an excuse to gather your family around the kitchen table.
A Soup Inspired By Risotto
Risottos are a winter staple in our home. They are absolutely fuss-free to make (they can be often oven-baked too!) and you can mix them up and create new delicious variations based on the offerings at the local markets. Another staunch winter favourite at our dinner table is the humble but mighty minestrone soup.
This Risotto Soup that I share today is an ode to our two favourite winter-time meals and a dish born out of necessity. This time around when Nick had to have multiple surgeries in late March and April, he had not eaten for over two weeks (not joking!). He was so unwell that he just wasn’t able to. For a large portion of that time, he was on the drip. After nearly three weeks, when he could finally eat a few things, not only was his appetite gone but he couldn’t taste anything (a result of the antibiotics). When we got him home finally after a harrowing month-long stay at the hospital, one of his first food requests was risotto.
And I made him one, right away. But it was too much for him. Too dry and not as comforting as he would’ve liked. That is when I decided to try making a beautiful soup inspired by the risotto. All the flavours of the risotto and the textures of minestrone, but in a big warming bowl of soup. A warm hug for the inside! And voila! The Risotto Soup was born.
A Bean And Rice Minestrone For Dinners And Lunchboxes
This risotto soup is cooked exactly like a risotto, without any of that stirring and hard work. I used to use arborio rice for risottos for the longest time until a few years ago when I tried carnaroli rice. Mind blown! Needless to say, I now always keep a steady supply of carnaroli rice for all my risotto needs. It is a little hard to find and more expensive than arborio (I buy mine from Harris Farms and I have also seen it stocked at local delis and some online grocers), but if you can find some; it is worth it.
The saffron is key to this recipe, so don’t skip it. This risotto soup is a good one to pop on the hob on meal prep days. That way when you are done meal prepping, you have a hot effortless dinner ready to go. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you want to reheat it, you will need to loosen it with extra stock as the rice absorbs the liquid while it sits. I pack a large portion for dinner and a couple of smaller portions of lunches. The boys love this soup in their Thermos for school lunches.
I hope you enjoy this warm hug of a soup. Please let me know your thoughts when you make it. Buon Appetito! x
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 brown onions (250g), roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
- 2 large potatoes (250g), peeled and diced
- pinch of saffron strands
- 100g carnaroli or aroborio rice
- 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine
- 1 X 400g can cherry tomatoes
- 1 – 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 1 X 400g can butter beans, drained
- sea salt flakes, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh chopped parsley and thyme sprigs, to serve
- nutritional yeast or parmesan/vegan parmesan, to serve
- Heat oil in a deep saucepan/dutch oven on medium. Add bay leaves, garlic, onion and chilli. Fry, tossing occasionally for 5-6 minutes until onion is tender. Add potato, saffron and rice. Toss and cook for 3-4 minutes until the potato is glazed and rice is looking translucent around the edges.
- Add wine to deglaze the pan and loosen and mix all the sticky caramelized bits.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and 1 litre of the vegetable stock. Simmer uncovered on medium for approximately 25 minutes until potato and rice is just cooked.
- Add butter beans, salt as per taste and black pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes until heated through. If the soup is too thick, loosen it by adding a quarter/half cup of stock until it reaches desired consistency.
- Remove from heat. Garnish with parsley and thyme, add yeast/parmesan if using and serve hot.
Canned cherry tomatoes look beautiful in this soup and add a nice texture. You can replace it with canned diced tomatoes.
Butter beans are soft, buttery and melt in your mouth. If you don’t have them, substitute with cannellini beans or chickpeas.
Occasionally, mixing a tablespoon of miso paste just before serving boosts the umami and nutritional value of the recipe.