Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuscan White Bean Italian Stew

A great Italian type of white bean stew that we grew up on, was this hearty Italian stew that will take the chill out of any blustery day we had in Upstate NY. Fresh fennel adds a sweet and slightly licorice flavor to the savory rosemary-scented broth and beans are perfectly seasoned.


1 large fennel bulb (about 3/4 pound)
2 cloves of minced garlic 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes or fresh diced plum tomato
1 can (about 14 ounces) fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine (chablis preferred)
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, northern or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
Garnish:
Hot pepper sauce
Grating cheese
Fresh basil
Cut off and reserve 1/4 cup chopped feathery fennel tops. Chop bulb into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped fennel bulb and garlic, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle rosemary and pepper over chicken; add to saucepan. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice and broth, bring to a boil. Cover, simmer 10 minutes. Stir in beans, simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce. Pour soup into bowls, top with reserved fennel tops and garnish with cheese, hot pepper sauce and basil. Serve with crusty thick Italian Bread. Optional: we would add white rice cooked or cut up vermicelli pasta if the stew was thin sauce, or just sop up the sauce with bread.
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