‘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. This is a family recipe we have enjoyed for years . At times we add farro to the soup and other times grass-fed meat or chicken to the mix but, it’s simply perfect all on its own.
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!
Traditional Italian Garbanzo And White Bean Soup
10 minutes plus 12 hours for soaking beans
2 - 3hours
1 1/2 cups dried garbanzo beans
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans
2 bay leaves
Sea salt to taste
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil as garnish
Ground black pepper to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste (optional - we love Parmigiano so we 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 in each pot 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, remove the bay leaf and combine the beans with their liquids in a large sauce pan, then 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). We made gluten-free ‘friselle’ for this dish.
- If adding farro or rice, cook them beforehand and add them when you combine the beans.