This week we show you a very traditional peasant zuppa from Pisa – Toscana (zuppa pisana). Despite the humble origins and ingredients, it is a very tasty and nutritious dish. The principal ingredient is black cabbage (cavolo nero or palmekål); if you prefer a sweeter taste you can replace it with the green one.
The recipe is a very old one, coming directly from granny Elgiva, the grand-grandmother of my dear friend Irene.
Advice: let rest a day in the fridge and reheat before eating to enhance all the flavours!
Ingredients for 4 servings
400 g cannellini beans dried and soaked overnight
3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
4 zucchini, diced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
300 g cavolo nero (known as black cabbage or palmekål in danish), leaves and stalks finely sliced
3 large slice good-quality bread
1 stick celery, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
raw onion rings, to taste
Add the soaked beans to a pan of water (around 1 litre) with a bay leaf, the garlic and salt. Cover with a lid and cook until tender (dried beans can take up to an hour and half for being cooked)– taste one bean to check if they’re soft.
When they are cooked, discard the bay leaf and the garlic, then blend them. You will use the mix like a broth.
Heat a saucepan with 3 tbs of extra vergine olive oil and add the chopped carrots, celery and onion to the pan, letting them brown for 5 min. Then add the diced potatoes, zucchini and black cabbage, and let them cook slowly on a low heat with the lid just ajar for around 10 to 15 minutes until soft. Then add one ladle of broth of mashed beans, salt and origan. Let cook for 10 min and then add all of the broth. Let it cook for around 20 min. The soup should be thick but not dry, if it is a bit dry add a little more water.
In the meantime put the slices of bread in a plate, so as to cover the bottom (as shown in the picture above). When the soup is ready, pour it on the top with a ladle. Season the zuppa with grounded pepper and extra vergine olive oil.
If you like the raw onion rings, complete this peasant zuppa toscana with some of them!
Francesca & Marinella