Zuppa di Fagioli
"Fagioli" literally means "beans" in Italian. My family revere this simple dish of beans and pasta in fresh chicken stock. Just a mention of "Fagioli" for dinner will bring a tender smile to the toughest of men and fond memories are created over a bowlful of this simple, humble bean soup from Calabria.
The title of Zuppa di Fagioli has been reduced to simply "Fagioli" but to my family we know it is bean soup and we will always bond over a delicious bowl of this healthy soup.
This is delicious, wholesome and so very good for you with different types of beans.
Here is the chicken stock bubbling away and filling the kitchen with an amazing smell.
This is also a one pot dish and is wonderful for the end of a busy day, or Sunday lunch with the extended family, always served with crusty, warm bread and virgin olive oil.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
1/2 zucchini peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
1 litre fresh chicken stock (I freeze home made chicken stock in batches)
or 1 litre water with 5 teaspoons dried chicken stock
1 bay leaf
150g shell pasta - any shape is fine
100g spaghetti broken into 5 cm lengths
1 tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin cannelleni beans, drained and rinsed
handful fresh green beans, cut into 2.5cm lengths
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh parmesan, grated for garnish
In a large non stick saucepan heat the olive oil over a medium low heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes until translucent but without browning (Soffritto). Add the garlic, fry 1 minute and then the tomatoes, frying all together for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
Add the potatoes and fry until the potatoes are covered in the tomato mixture.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Insert the bay leaf and zucchini, bring back to a boil and add the pasta slowly while stirring the whole time. When it is boiling again reduce the soup to a high simmer, lid off.
After 15 minutes check that the pasta is cooked and add the drained borlotti and cannellini beans along with the fresh green beans. Bring back to a simmer and put the timer on for 5 minutes.
Check the green beans are cooked, taste for seasoning, remember that the chicken stock is quite salty so you may just need to add freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the bay leaf.
Sprinkle with the parsley, drizzle with a little more virgin olive oil and serve accompanied by a bowl of freshly grated parmesan and your rustic, crusty bread.
Do you have a special family soup that always creates this feeling of warmth and fondness?
Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx