1. Food

Bean Soup - Minestra di Fagioli

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Though people tend to assume Italian bean soups will contain pasta, perhaps because of pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool), plain bean soup is quite nice too, especially when it's nicely seasoned with garlic. Perfect in winter! To serve about 4:

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh or 2/3 pound dried white beans - if you’re using dried beans, soak them for two hours
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced, or: a small bunch of parsley, minced, and an 8-inch (20 cm) sprig of rosemary, not minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cook the beans in water to cover; salt to taste when they’re done. Remove and purée half of them.

Sauté the garlic and parsley in a pot. When the garlic is lightly browned, add the bean broth, ground black pepper to taste, and the tomato paste. If you are including the rosemary, add the sprig now. Cook for a few minutes and then stir in the whole and puréed beans. Let the soup, which should be rather thick, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, being careful that it doesn’t stick. Remove the sprig of rosemary, and serve hot.

The wine? A light red, along the lines of a Valpolicella Classico or a simple Dolcetto.

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