Four Fagioli Italian Soup

This recipe is sort of a mash-up of cultures; a melting pot of ingredients. It's a bit of midwest stew, southwest chili, and Italian peasant-style soup.  Somehow, it all seems to work.  The soup starts with a soffrito  of aromatic vegetables layered with some dried legumes from Italy via one  of our favorite Italian artisan producers.  He packages them in jars with impressive graphics to mimic the beauty of the beans.

 They're not all indigenous to Italy, but somehow they sound so much more romantic and elegant when called  fagioli  instead of simply beans.   Any way you pronounce it, it's a good staple to have around when the winter chills come whipping back around until spring finally settles in.


1/2 cup Borlotti beans 
1/2 cup Fagioli Corona 
1/2 cup Fagioli Neri {black beans}
1/2 cup Adzuki Rossi {red adzuki beans}
* use any combination of beans you like. 
1# ground veal  {you can omit this if you want to keep this dish vegeterian} 
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 Tablespoon Pimenton Spanish smoked paprika
4 carrots, washed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds 
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
1 cup Passata or Peperonata tomato sauce 
4 cups water 

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight. 
Rinse the beans with cold water, drain and set aside until ready to cook.

In a large stock pot, cook the veal in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove the meat from the pan, straining off any fat. 
In the same pot, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle the pimenton over the celery and onion mixture and continue to cook for another minute. Add the red wine and cook down until all of the liquid is reduced completely and absorbed into the vegetables.  Add the carrots, garlic cloves, tomato sauce and water to cover {add more water as needed}. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a slight boil, cover, and cook over medium low heat for about 1 hour {2 hours for best flavor and texture}, or until the beans are cooked and the sauce has thickened. 

Serve over  pasta, such as scuccuzzu  or fregola .  Serves 6-8.  

Buon appetito!
copyright 2010 Alisa Barry

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