This is a classic one. It reminds me of spring, when the temperature is not yet too high and you find fresh Borlotti beans in the pod at the market. To my great surprise I managed to find them here, in New York City. They call them Red Kidney Beans, they have them at Fairway sometimes… But you can find real Borlotti from Italy, they will be dried and you’ll have to let them sit in water for at least 12 hours. I love their taste, specially when paired with lot of celery. But lets roll our sleeves and start cooking it. It can take some time to cook, especially with he dry beans.
- 200g Dry Borlotti Beans (or even better, fresh in the pod)
- 1 large Carrot
- 1 medium Yellow Onion
- 1/2 stack of Celery
- 1 small can of Whole Pealed Italian Tomatoes
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 Dry Hot Chili Peppers
- 2 Dry Sweet Red Peppers
- 2 stock cubes
- 1 piece of “cotica” (the pig skin of Guanciale, Pancetta and Prosciutto) NOT MANDATORY
Start the night before by putting the beans in a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Add a spoon of salt and a spoon of baking soda (this will help the water moist the beans and speed up the cooking time, making sure they cook evenly without falling apart. If you have fresh ones, just remove them from their pod.
Finally chop the carrot (I used a pretty ed carrot this time, but you can use regular ones), the onion and the celery. This is what Italians call “soffritto”. I’m thinking of making a post just about it, being one of the fundamentals of the Italian cooking.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the stock cubes. I prefer vegetable stock for this recipe, make sure it does’ contain monosodium glutamate, it’s bad for you. Take a nice terra-cotta pot, add the finally chopped “soffritto” base, add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the cotica and turn the flame to a medium. Let the soffritto sear, it will take approximately 10 minutes, according to the pot you use. At this point, add the beans, the chili and the sweet peppers. Give them 5 minutes, then add the can of tomato, the stock (approx. 1 liter) and the bay leaves. Cover with the lid and bring it to boil.
As it starts “bubbling” turn the flame to low, keep the lid on and let it cook until the beans are soft. 30 minute before they are done, remove the lid and let some of the stock evaporate. After 2 hours of cooking they should be ready. Put the soup in a bowl, add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some freshly grounded pepper. Your soup is ready. With this same recipe you can make Pasta & Fagioli, just add the pasta to the soup and let it cook. I’ll post the recipe txt time I make it. Hope you like it.