Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup (Zuppa alla Frantoiana)

Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup
zuppa alla frantoiana
Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup (Zuppa alla Frantoiana)Ryan Liebe

In this traditional Lucchese soup, vegetables and beans are slow-cooked until little to no bite remains, making it a rustic, comforting dish. Be sure to give any tougher vegetables all the time they need to scompare, or disappear. The quantities are flexible, so use whatever you have on hand.

Zuppa alla Frantoiana
In this traditional Lucchese soup, vegetables and beans are slow-cooked until little to no bite remains, making it a rustic, comforting dish.
Yield: serves 6-8
Time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried borlotti (cranberry) beans
  • 12 cup dried cannellini beans
  • 4 garlic cloves, 1 clove smashed
  • 12 small bunch sage
  • 12 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 12 tsp. tomato paste
  • 12 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (3 cups)
  • 12 small head white cabbage, leaves cut into large squares, core finely chopped (5 1/4 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
  • 12 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 12 spring onion, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 1 small leek, chopped and rinsed well (1 cup)
  • 12 1/2 medium kabocha or small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 small zucchini (1/2 lb.), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Herbs such as peppermint, lemon balm, salad burnet, tarassaco (a type of dandelion), and fennel fronds, roughly torn, for garnishing
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add the beans and enough water just to cover (about 2 12 cups). Let soak at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Add 4 quarts fresh water, 3 garlic cloves, and half the sage to the pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook until beans are very soft but not yet falling apart, 1 12 hours. Turn off the heat and let rest. (Beans can be cooked up to 1 day ahead.)
  3. In a small pot, add the smashed garlic and the oil. Cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until the garlic is softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining sage and the tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until darkened slightly, 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove the sage, let cool slightly, and finely chop. Return to the pot.
  4. Mill or mash the beans if desired, or leave whole. Transfer the tomato mixture to the pot with the beans. Bring to a boil and season with salt to taste. Stir in the kale, then return to a boil. Stir in the cabbage and bring to a simmer; let cook 10 minutes, then add the carrot and fennel. Let cook 4 minutes, then add the celery. Cook 2 minutes, then add the onions, leek, squash, and zucchini; simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the herbs and turn off the heat. Serve with crusty bread if desired.