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Mains, Soups, Vegetarian

Chickpea, borlotti and wheat berry soup (mesciuva)

Chickpea, borlotti and wheat berry soup (mesciuva)
Los Angeles Times

It's a place where women still make glorious egg-yolk-rich tagliatelle, put up jars of peppers and peaches, and, in some villages, bake bread in the communal bread oven. Piedmont, the fabled wine region of northwest Italy, has its special dishes ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours plus overnight soaking | Serves 12
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, organic if possible
  • 2 cups dried borlotti (cranberry) beans
  • 1 1/4 cups wheat berries
  • Salt
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black peppercorns
  • Olive oil, preferably from Liguria

Step 1The night before, soak the chickpeas, borlotti beans and wheat berries separately in abundant cold water.

Step 2The next morning, cook them in separate pots with just the soaking water and a big pinch of salt, skimming the foam from the top occasionally. The cooking time of the beans varies every time he makes the soup, Camia says, but it's usually several hours until they're really tender. (The wheat berries should take about 2 hours).

Step 3Once the chickpeas, borlotti beans and wheat berries are cooked, remove from heat and let cool in their cooking liquid.

Step 4Combine the chickpeas, borlotti beans and wheat berries (including all the liquid) in a large pot. Make an herb bouquet of the rosemary, sage and bay leaves, tying them with string. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour or so to meld the flavors.

Step 5Remove from heat, add lots of freshly ground black pepper and stir in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Step 6Serve in warmed shallow soup bowls. Drizzle a little more olive oil over each serving, if desired.

Note: From Massimo Camia, chef-owner of Locanda Borgo Antico in Barolo, Italy.


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