White bean soup

Since March, I’ve spent more time than ever at home, and I’ve noticed something…

Instinctively, I’ve been trying to insert a certain warm coziness into every corner of the house. We have way more fires in the fireplace than we used to; I’ve been hoarding those soft fuzzy blankets you can get for a steal at Home Goods; and the string lights over the back windows, usually alight only for special occasions, seem to be illuminated all day long.

And then there’s lunch. Typically, on work days, I’m all about the quick-and-easy: Canned tuna or smashed avocado on Finn Crisps, PB&J on good bread, hummus with anything. These days, though, I am craving warm soup on the most primal level — specifically this creamy, healthy white bean soup that comes together in under 20 minutes. (Bonus: It calls for the frying of onions, always the fastest way to infuse a house with comfort.) This recipe makes two large bowls (and three medium bowls) but it easily doubles, and if you add some crusty bread and maybe a green salad, it’s the beginning of an easy warm-your-bones dinner, too.

Cozy White Bean Soup
Serves 2

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cooked white beans (2 15-ounce cans), such as cannellini, navy, or Great Northern, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 to 3 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or bean broth if you made your own beans)
2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar

Suggested toppings: Grated Parmesan, pesto, toasted bread crumbs or croutons, chopped broiled scallions

In a medium pot set over medium-low heat, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onions are golden and slightly caramelized, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add the beans and just enough stock to cover. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to an aggressive simmer until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and, using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup. Stir in vinegar and serve in shallow bowls with desired toppings.  Drizzle with more olive oil just before eating.

P.S. What food geniuses eat for lunch and readers share their cozy corners.