by Pellegrino Artusi
he often finds in beans a healthy and nourishing alternative...
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4 PEOPLE)
Original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi.
It is said, and rightly so, that beans are the meat of the poor. And when the manual labourer going through his pockets sees with a sad eye that he is unable to buy a piece of meat large enough to make soup for his little family, he often finds in beans a healthy, nourishing and cheap alternative. Moreover, beans take some time to leave the body, quelling hunger pangs for a good while. But… and even here there is a but, as there so often is in the matters of this world – and I think you get my point. For partial protection, choose thin-shelled beans, or pass them through a sieve. Black-eyed beans partake of this drawback less than other varieties.
To make the bean soup more pleasant and tasty, and sufficient for four to five people, make a soffritto as follows: take a quarter of an onion, a clove of garlic, a bit of parsley and a nice piece of white celery. Chop these finely with a mezzaluna and place them on the fire with a good amount of oil - and be generous with the pepper. When the soffritto has begun to brown, add two ladlesful of bean broth, add a bit of tomato sauce or tomato paste, bring to a boil, and then pour it into the pot containing the beans. For those who like some vegetables in their soup, they can add a bit of red cabbage, first washed and then boiled in the liquid of the soffritto. Now the only thing left is to pour the soup over some bread already roasted in slices one finger thick and then diced.