Cucina povera – a peasant soup of beans and greens

Cicoria e Fagioli

I cook simple food: rustic, hearty, unadorned, unprocessed, from simple robust ingredients.  The food of peasants.  Cucina povera.   It’s frugal, delicious, healthy, Here is one of my favourite recipes – for curly endive and cannellini bean soup.

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It’s so easy, frugal, quick, delicious.  Dinner in 10 minutes!  The recipe I use is from one of my favourite cookbooks The Food of Italy by Claudia Roden and from one of my favourite regions in Italy – the Abruzzi (where the recent devastating earthquake was), where we spent a few days in 1993.   Pescasseroli, where we stayed, was magical: snow and scoiattoli (squirrels) and cent erbe and cream puffs at the Hotel Pinguino

Here is Antonio Carluccio’s recipe  (which is very similar to Claudia Roden’s), sourced from here which I have adapted

200g (7 oz) dried cannellini beans, or 1 x 425g (15 oz) can cannellini beans
1/2 bunch curly endive, washed and root end removed
6 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the dried beans to soak for 12 hours or more in a large bowl (they increase in size). Drain them and boil until done in fresh unsalted water. Salt at the end of the cooking time. If using canned beans drain them from their liquid and save the liquid to add to the soup. Wash the endive and cut it up into short lengths (about an inch long).

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, fry the garlic without browning, and then add the endive and chillies. Keeping the heat high, stir-fry for a minute or two, coating the endive with the oil, then add the drained cannellini beans, half of the liquid from the can, some salt and water to cover.  Bring to the boil, cover the saucepan (I don’t cover mine – the colour keeps better if the soup isn’t covered) and reduce the heat. Simmer until the endive is tender.

Toast some stale bread (preferably Italian) and put a slice in each soup bowl.  ladle over the soup over the bread, swirl some olive oil on top and serve with grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

I’m eating leftovers for lunch as I type…

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3 Responses to “Cucina povera – a peasant soup of beans and greens”

  1. Brian Says:

    yum, looks and sounds great!

  2. tetPreoxy Says:

    Premium post, good looking weblog, added it to my favorites!

  3. Skippy Says:

    It’s a keeper!

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