“Raici e fasioi” is the dialect name for this delicious regional soup. Autumn is gently approaching in Veneto. The vineyard leaves are turning crimson red and yellow and the temperature is cooling down – a perfect time to share my autumn radicchio bean soup. The red radicchio from Treviso (a wonderful nearby town) is also known as Italian chicory and is in season now. There are so many things you can make with radicchio from soups, spreads, risotto or simply grilling it as a side vegetable. For the beans, in Veneto we use the red borlotti beans.
Another similar and popular dish is “pasta fagioli” soup which is the below recipe but without the radicchio and adding in some butterfly pasta instead. We try to avoid pasta so this radicchio soup is perfect for a filling lunch or dinner meal.
Soak your beans overnight or as instructed. If short on time, then you can use the tinned version and still follow the recipe as below. Start by making the soup base of finely chopped onions, carrots and celery cooked in a little olive oil. Peel and dice the potatoes into thin 2 cm cubes. Add beans, broth, potatoes and tomatoes and simmer for 20-30 mins until beans and potatoes are cooked.
Slice up the radicchio into 2 cm pieces but keep the last 5 cm tips aside. Gently toss the stalks in oil to soften.
Now the difficult part. Do you puree the entire bean soup making a thick velvety soup as shown below? OR…
Do you take out half the soup and only puree the other half to leave it lighter with pieces of beans and potatoes?
Whatever you decide, make sure you add in the softened radicchio, add a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle freshly ground peppar and add in the raw radicchio tips on the side. It’s also common to add a few drops of good quality thick balsamic vinegar as well. I admit I ate both bowls trying to decide which is my favourite and I’m still not sure which I prefer… both are delicious! Oh and this soup tastes fabulous the following day once the flavours have fused together. Enjoy!
- 600 grm borlotti beans, soaked overnight (or tinned)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped or 220ml can
- 1 large potato, peeled and small diced
- 1 bunch of radicchio
- 3 cups vegetable stock (750ml)
- salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- few drops of balsamic vinegar oil
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery with a tbsp of olive oil and sauté over moderate heat for 3 mins until soft.
- Add the broth, tomato, beans and potatoes and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
- Remove half the bean soup from the pot, puree the remainder, then add back. Alternatively puree the entire soup. This gives it a nice thick, velvety texture.
- In a frying pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil and add the chopped radicchio and stir for a few minutes until soft. Keep the tips for decorating the side bowl.
- Serve soup warm, add the softened radicchio, grinded black peppar and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Add the raw radicchio tips to the side of the bowl.