I was a little concerned about the pancetta at first. It just sounds weird to know that you're basically going to blend meat. It really adds a great flavor to the soup though, and wasn't weird at all. I think this soup would be great as a vegetarian version, but you might want to up the salt content to make up for the lack of pancetta.
The only other change I would suggest considering is to leave some of the beans whole. Last time hubs made this request and it turned out great. We left one of the three cans of beans out until after the soup was blended and then added those beans and heated them up. It added just a little more texture to the soup if that's your sorta thing.
White Bean Soup
adapted from Williams-Sonoma by way of The Lushers
1/4 lb. of pancetta (calls for 1/2 c. but I order 1/4 lb. from the deli and use it all)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 15-oz. cans cannellini beans
5 c. chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, fry the pancetta, with a little olive oil if necessary. Cook for about five minutes and then add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Next, add the beans*, broth and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
(and I just realized we used red onion... eh... whatever!)
Remove from the heat and puree with an immerion blender until smooth. You can also use a regular blender or food processor, but the immersion blender basically rocks. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. You can also reserve the cheese and sprinkle it on the soup at the table. I actually prefer this method because I think it reheats a little better.
Slurp and enjoy! And don't forget that it will likely be even better tomorrow!
*Don't forget you can also reserve one can of beans until after you puree the soup.