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Alessi cuisine



Olive-press soup

(Zuppa frantoiana)

  • A)
  • 400 grams of yellow pumpkin pulp
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • salt
  • B)
  • 100 grams of French beans (the so called "cannellini")
    1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • one lock of sage
  • salt
  • C)
  • 100 grams of onion
  • 100 grams of celery
  • 100 grams of carrot
  • 100 grams of chopped leek
  • 8 spoons of olive oil
  • salt
  • D)
  • a mixture composed by:
    4 garlic cloves
    a small onion
    a small leek
    the leaves of a small rosemary branch
    a pinch of dried basil
  • a varied bunch composed by a small bunch of thyme, one bunch of sweet marjoram and another one of "nepitella"
  • 100 grams of chicories
  • 100 grams of chopped black cabbage
  • 100 grams of chopped savoy cabbage
  • 100 grams of spring cabbage
  • a small bunch of spinach and one of chard, well cleaned and chopped
  • 4 slices of Tuscan stale bread (roasted at the moment)
  • olive oil
  • salt
Put, at least, one litre of water in a pot and let the pumpkin boil together with the half vegetable stock cube; cook for about 10 minutes and then leave the pumpkin and the cooking broth available to use in another moment. Do the same with the French beans and all the ingredients mentioned at point B), cooking all the stuff very slowly for 90 minutes.
In an appropriate pan put all the ingredients at point C) plus the varied bunch, let the stuff stew for about 20 minutes, over a medium-brisky heat (use a lid to cover the pan) and turn it very often because it may attach to the bottom of the pan. Then prepare the mixture mentioned at point D using also a big spoon of the pumpkin cooking broth and another big spoon of the French beans cooking water, cook for about 30 minutes, over a low heat, always with the pan covered and turn this stuff gradually. At this point put also the chicories and all the other vegetables, add a big spoon each of pumpkin and French beans' broth, let the stuff boil once again and cook for 20 minutes more.
Now mix both the pumpkin and the French beans together with their broth (by using a liquidizer), add this mixture to the above stuff and continue with the cooking for 30 minutes, at least, over a low heat and with the pan covered; turn this stuff very often and adjust with salt before switching off. Prepare the soup plates with one slice of bread each, bathe the bread with abundant oil, then pour some cooking water in order to dip them in the broth for about one minute. After this time fill the soup plates with some other vegetable broth and serve them with some more oil, without any parsimony.
The name of this soup, and also the period of the year in which it is normally prepared, reminds that it is based on the new olive oil. But this is a balanced and varied soup, emotioning, because it is based on the contrast between two different tastes: the spicy-slightly bitter taste of oil, chicory, black cabbage and the sweetish-"round" taste of pumpkin and French beans, in a wide and aromatic fan of tastes. Compare to the other vegetable soups, which require quite short cooking times, for this soup we have indicated longer cooking times. This is due to the fact that a cooking over a low heat highlights the contrasting tastes, while the quick cooking has the effect to separate the single tastes and then to mix them all together, so that such a kind of cooking would make lose a fundamental feature of this soup, whose linking element is represented by the new oil, which exalts every tasty shades.

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

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