Zuppa alla Frantoiana: Tuscan Bean and Vegetable Soup

Thu, 04/23/2020 - 08:07
bean soup in italy
Difficult Level
Cooking Time
1 hour, plus overnight resting

This classic soup of Tuscany--a rich mix of slow cooked vegetables and beans--- is named frantoiana, Italian for an olive press because it features a final finish of newly pressed Tuscan olive oil. Chef Barattini Locanda Antica de Sesto in Lucca notes that this dish, “is characterized by an intense flavor, spicy and pungent. This soup has all the flavors of the Tuscany and we enjoy it accompanied by a local wine like our Red Malolina we make ourselves.”

You’ll especially love the technique of adding some of the cooked vegetables at the end, which gives the soup a delicate crunch and brightness. 


Dried borlotti (cranberry) beans: 1 pound
Garlic: 4 cloves
Fresh sage: 3 large leaves
Salt: To taste
Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tablespoons, plus more to finish
Potato: 1 peeled and diced
Leek: 1 thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil: 3 to 4 tablespoons, plus more for serving
Zucchini: 2 diced
Swiss chard: 1 bunch, diced
Kale: 1 bunch, diced
Cabbage: 2 cups diced
Red pepper flakes: To taste
Pancetta: 8 ounces, minced
Onion, 1, very finely minced
Celery: 2 stalks, very finely minced
Carrots: 2, very finely minced
Assorted fresh herbs including parsley, basil, thyme, etc 1 1/2 cups, finely minced, divided
Tomato concentrate: 2 tablespoons
Toasted baguette slices: For serving


Soak the beans in water over night. Drain and put into a soup pot with 1 gallon of water, 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 2 sage leaves and a pinch of salt and simmer on medium until tender.  Add more water, if needed.

Meantime in a soup pot sauté the potato and leeks in oil until half cooked. Add the zucchini, chard, kale and cook until tender.  Season to taste with red pepper flakes.

Put 2/3 of the cooked beans through a food mill and puree. Add the pureed beans, whole beans and the vegetables into the soup pot and simmer for about a half hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Meantime, in a small frying pan, sauté the pancetta with the onion, celery and carrots until just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1½ cups of herbs, tomato concentrate and remaining garlic clove.  

Top the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and serve with bread.

Recipe courtesy: Chef Aurelio Barattini of Locanda Antica de Sesto in Lucca, Italy