This 20 minute Tuscan Borlotti Bean Soup is a quick and healthy taste of Italy.
Disclaimer: Cirio sent me these products to review – all opinions are my own.
Italian cuisine is based on the country’s fresh seasonal and excellent quality produce, while incorporating simple cooking techniques to create a perfect a dish.
Using just a few ingredients at a time, Italian cooks have an excellent understanding of which flavours work well together.
Years ago, when I lived in Italy, my friends and I loved travelling round the country, sampling the countless culinary specialities of various towns and cities, based on the regional produce. For example, the best coffee and pizza is in Naples because of the excellent volcanic water in the region. Dishes would also change according to season, so this was an activity we never tired of.
I have never had such delicious oranges as those in Sicily, or the famous lemons of Amalfi, the sweetest pears and figs from my aunt’s garden in Tuscany…
Preparing Italian food outside of Italy
Outside of Italy, without access to the same fantastic fresh ingredients, it is often difficult to replicate the amazing flavours of Italian cuisine.
I was thrilled when one of my favourite brands, Cirio, sent me a parcel of some of their products to review.
Cirio’s products succeed in preserving the freshness of some of Italy’s fine ingredients, bringing the delicious taste of Italy into our kitchens.
I often use their tinned tomatoes as the quality is so good that very little effort is required to make a fabulous and tasty Tomato Sauce.
Raw vs tinned beans
Cirio sent me two types of tinned beans: borlotti (cranberry beans) and cannellini (white beans).
My mother is from Florence, and the Florentines have many delicious recipes using beans. Not only are they simple and cheap ingredients, but beans are incredibly tasty and high in nutritional value.
However, cooking with dried beans is always time-consuming, allowing for soaking and lengthy cooking times, so these cans of steamed and ready to eat beans are ideal to make a perfect Tuscan Borlotti Bean Soup.
Why it works
For this bean soup, I used the Cirio Borlotti beans. The texture of their beans is perfect and they have a delicious, delicate taste.
As there are no preservatives in these cans of beans, I would never drain or wash them, rather I use the bean liquid (aquafaba) which is just slightly salty, starchy water. It gives an added bean flavour to the soup and makes it even more rich and creamy.
I also used a small amount of Cirio’s rich and flavoursome tomato purée.
- The base of the soup is a soffritto which is softened (not sautéed) till slightly golden on a low heat
- Salt is added to draw the moisture from the vegetables
- Mix in the sage leaves to help release their flavour (See Tips for Storing Herbs to ensure you always have herbs on hand)
- Do not discard the aquafaba/bean water (this is important) as it will add flavour
- Cook the soup slowly on low heat to release the flavours
- Stir in the tomato paste and after 2 minutes turn off the heat.
- Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a grating of Parmesan cheese
More Soup recipes
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Tuscan Borlotti Bean Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 stalk celery diced small
- 1 medium carrot diced small
- 1 medium onion diced small
- 2 sage leaves
- 2 150g/5oz tins Cirio Borlotti beans drain beans and reserve their liquid
- 1 teaspoon Cirio tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to garnish
- olive oil to garnish
- In a medium pan, on low to medium heat, sweat the soffritto of diced celery, carrot and onion.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then cover and allow to cook till soft and slightly golden.
- Add the sage leaves and mix, then set aside 1/3 of the drained beans and add the rest to the pan.
- Stir for a minute or two to heat through and blend.
- Add the bean liquid and the rest of the beans. Bring to a boil, then quickly reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and after 2 minutes, turn off the heat.
- Adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a grating of Parmesan cheese.