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It’s Tuscany in my kitchen

January 24th, 2008 · 3 Comments · Food preparation, recipes

I can at least imagine it’s Tuscany in my kitchen, having just cleaned up from a delicious dinner of Tuscan Five-Bean Soup, from Patricia Wells’s Trattoria cookbook and Tuscan Bread, from a cookbook long ago borrowed and returned.

This simple bean soup is really delicious and pretty—at least until it’s cooked. See some of the beans:

Beans and peas

Even though the mixture winds up a sort of beige, with flecks of carrots and thyme, it’s beautiful in my eyes and delicious and warming in my mouth and belly. The recipe is also flexible. I didn’t have enough barley, so I added quinoa to make up the difference. And I used black-eyed peas instead of one of the other beans. I think the key is simply to have a mixture of small, quick-cooking beans and peas that don’t require soaking.

Cooking the soup has the added benefit of creating a perfect environment for making bread, especially with the “keep hot” shelves on my range hood. (Mine’s about 15 years old and lacks some of the current bells and whistles, but those shelves are the best. I could rhapsodize about those shelves which should be required, not optional. Maybe one day when I have more time I will.)

As the soup simmers, the warm moist air just lifts that dough right up. I’ll give you the recipe when I’m less tired. Nevertheless, here’s the final result, food styling be damned.

Tuscan Five-Bean Soup

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • ed bruske

    I’m getting a real hankering for a freshly baked loaf of bread and a pot of bean soup. I’ve got a pantry full of legumes, a pizza stone in the oven, and you’re right–a pot of the stove creates an excellent environment for a bread rise.

  • Jennifer

    Janet, have you tried the no-knead recipe that Mark Bittman wrote about?

  • Janet Majure

    Put on those beans, Ed! And no, Jennifer, I haven’t tried that long rise, but the recipe I used for my bread (which I will get posted this weekend) is essentially no-knead. That recipe does sound interesting, though. I may give it a try one of these days.