ZUPPA TOSCANA (NORTHERN TUSCANY)
This recipe was contributed by Michele Molinari, whose great-grandmother was from southern Reggio Emilia on the border with Northern Tuscany. She used to call it Zuppa Toscana because she said that was the way it was prepared in Tuscany; Michele has no precise details as to where it originated for sure.
1 cup millet
1 cup borlotti beans
2 cups chickpeas
2 cups lentils
2 cups farro
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 sage leaves
10 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leafs
1 cup green peas
salt and pepper
Soak the millet, borlotti beans, chickpeas, lentils and farro in water overnight, changing the water 2 or 3 times if possible. Rinse and drain.
Place them in a pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Then simmer for about 2 hours, covered. Add salt towards the end of the cooking time.
Meanwhile, heat 1 cup extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add onion, garlic, celery, carrots and sage. Fry for a few minutes over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the onion and the garlic begin to darken, add the tomatoes. Simmer until the excess water from the tomatoes evaporates. Turn off and wait for legumes to be ready.
When legumes are cooked, take about 2 cups of the legumes and purée in a food processor or food mill. Return the purée to the pot.
Add the bay leaves, green peas and the olive oil mixture, simmer for 1 hour semi-covered. Add boiling water if needed to reach the preferred thickness.
For a perfect taste, serve the following day after preparing the soup. Serve hot with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, ground pepper, and a couple slices of slightly toasted bread.
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