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Alessi cuisine




Amounts for 4 people

  • A)
  • 250 grams of dried beans (the so called "borlotti"), already reconstituted for one night in fresh water
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • a handful of leaves of sage
  • one carrot and one rib of celery cut in 3 pieces
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 4 spoons of olive oil (Tuscany extra-virgin oil)
  • salt
  • B)
  • 2 big sausages of pork, very fresh
  • 7 or 8 garlic cloves a little bit mashed
  • 3 branches of rosemary
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • 5-6 spoons of oil (as above)
  • C)
  • 2 carrots
  • one red onion
  • one rib of celery
  • the white part of 2 small leeks
  • 2 potatoes cut in pieces
  • a bunch composed by parsley, marjoram, thyme, basil
  • 2 spoons of double tomato purée
  • D)
  • 2 or 3 bunches of black cabbage, small and tender
  • one small savoy cabbage, both types of cabbage already cleaned of cores and hard parts
  • E)
  • 200 grams of maize flour, superfine
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • Tuscan  pecorino cheese to grate
  • Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil

Take a pot and put two litres of water and few salt, boil very slowly covering with a lid for about 40 minutes the beans with all the ingredients indicated at point a). When they will be cooked, take out the pot from the heat and keep it warm. Now take a casserole with high edges and with a lid, put inside oil, garlic and rosemary indicated at point b) and, over a briskly heat, brown them, continuously turning until the garlic cloves will get hazelnut coloured (but they do not have to become black). Take out from the heat, gather from the bottom of the casserole, with the help of a skimmer, the browned stuff and put it in a small plate to use afterwards. Peel and melt the sausages and put them in the hot oil of the previous (above) step and put the casserole once again over a briskly heat.

Turn very often with a small wooden ladle for 3-4 minutes in order to brown then, bathe with the white wine and, by turning very often, let it evaporate for 3 or 4 minutes more, then add the pieces of vegetables and the bunch of herbs indicated at point c); turn all the stuff in order to mix it and start once again with the boiling, then adjust the heat very low, cover the casserole and cook for 10 minutes turning very often, in order anything would stick on the bottom of the pan. In the meanwhile melt in a small bowl the two spoons of tomato purée together with a big spoon of hot water, then pour it in the casserole over the sausages and the vegetables, then increase the heat a little bit and turn continuously (the casserole should be without lid) and boil for about 5 minutes.

During this time cut the leaves of the two types of cabbage (point d) in stripes and put them in the casserole. Cook them for 5-6 minutes, always turning. At this point take a blender, put inside the browned leaves previously kept together with the garlic, ¾ of the beans, with boiled celery and carrot and, by diluting with their cooking broth, blend very well in order to obtain a homogeneous purée, very liquid. Pour this purée in the casserole, mix very well, boil very slowly for about 20 minutes covering with a lid, as to have a thin soup add some other water or the remaining liquid of the beans. After 20 minutes taste and add some more salt and pepper if necessary, then, add also the maize flour pouring it like the rain and continuously turning still cook for at least 30 minutes, over a very low heat. Serve very hot decorating the plates with the remaining beans and a dusting of grated "pecorino" and black pepper.

This is a sort of maize mush typical of the Tuscany regions of Versilia (high Versilia) and Garfagnana. This recipe is related to a very poor tradition (even if our version is quite sumptuous) of these regions which, in the past, but also in a not far past, have seen many people emigrating, due to the big poverty.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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