This soup, named after an olive variety, is traditionally made with the first press of olive oil from the harvest and the best vegetables in season. If using fresh borlotti beans, you'll need to reduce the cooking time. You can add a little salt to the cooking water, but don't do this with dried beans because it makes the skins tough. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 400 gm dried (or fresh) borlotti beans, dried ones soaked overnight in cold water, drained
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 320 gm butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 celeriac, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 Desiree potato, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 each fresh bay leaf, thyme sprig and rosemary sprig
- 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
- 1 bunch cavolo nero, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch chicory, coarsely chopped
- 8-10 thick slices crusty sourdough or white loaf, to serve
- 1Place beans in a large saucepan, cover completely with cold water and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low-medium and cook until beans are tender (35-40 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- 2Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until just coloured and tender (10 minutes). Add vegetables and herbs and sauté for 2 minutes, then add stock and beans, season to taste and cook until vegetables and beans are very tender and starting to break down (20-30 minutes). Add cavolo nero and chicory and cook until both are very tender (10-15 minutes), then check seasoning, adjust if necessary, and keep warm.
- 3Meanwhile, preheat a grill over high heat. Place bread slices on an oven tray and grill, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side). Divide among shallow serving bowls, ladle with soup, scatter generously with Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
Drink Suggestion: Full-bodied Friulian white. Drink suggestion by Max Allen