“La Mesciua” - A Traditional Italian Garbanzo and White Bean Soup
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free and High in Fiber!
“La Mesciua” is a traditional garbanzo and white bean soup that originated form the Ligurian region of Italy in the harbor of “La Spezia” known as the beautiful Gulf of Poets. It is a historic “piatto povero” (peasant dish) with very ancient origins. Historians believe that La Mesciua was prepared in the 14th Century by women who collected legumes and grain that came out of the sacks during the loading and unloading of ships.
Mesciua, in dialect, means “mixture” referring to different ingredients used to prepare this soup. So get your creative juices flowing and try it by adding some of your favorite ingredients. For example, my brother loves farro so he adds that to the soup. Other family members like adding grass-fed meat or chicken to the mix. I enjoy it in its perfect original form!
A simple and inexpensive dish rich in flavors and nutrients served during the cold winter days but in my opinion, it is a delectable comfort food to be enjoyed throughout the year!
Yields: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 to 3 hours + 12 hours for soaking beans
1 1/2 cups dried garbanzo beans
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans
Salt to taste
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
Ground black pepper to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (optional - I love Parmigiano so I always add it!)
Soak garbanzo and cannellini beans in separate bowls, overnight. After 12 hours, eliminate those beans that remain afloat, drain and rinse with cold water.
Place beans in their own pot with enough fresh water to cover by one inch. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, occasionally stirring. Add salt to taste at end.
Once the beans are cooked, combine the beans with their liquids in a large sauce pan, parsley, and salt to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes to mix the flavors.
Garnish each soup bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and Parmigiano. Serve with slices of homemade rustic Italian bread, toasted in the oven or friselle (gluten-free or regular).
If adding farro or rice, cook them beforehand and add them when you combine the beans.