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Mesciua - Italian Bean Soup

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear diary, I am happy only at sea, on the way from one island I just left to another one I have yet to reach.
~ Nanni Moretti, Dear Diary

I've read that mesciua was born from the sea, between the Ligurian coasts, a poor man' soup put together with those grains that the longshoremen’s wives could gather from time to time on the docks, as treasures unwittingly fallen from the slits of the bags, worn out by time and travels.
I imagined a thick soup, with the poor and robust flavor of the land, the waves and the adversities, and the incisive scent of memories and hope.
I saw a woman with slender, well groomed hands, black hair and a scarf around the neck, wandering every day through the streets of the port to take a vain look between the cries of the people, waiting anonymously for a lover. I thought of a man overboard, with tanned arms and fatigue in the veins, with eyes following the stars and boredom for a friend; I saw him feeding himself with waves, loneliness and false freedom.
I watched the woman leave, with her scarf around the neck, away from the coast and from the sound of the wind, to go and get lost among unfamiliar people, languages and scents. I felt her nostalgia, moist and dense like vapors from the kitchen; I felt it taking shape after years in the improbable taste of this mixture of grains left in the bottom of the pantry. I looked into her eyes, dark and sad of melancholy, and I listened to the vivid silence of her regret. I wished that on the bottom of the dish she could find an answer to her questions, I wanted to give her the smile and the comfort of memory; instead I saw her crying in front of this soup, so far and outspoken, living memory of a summer sky, a love never lived and a land never forgotten.
I had a dream and I wrote it down this way, on a winter evening; and I dedicated it to all the travelers of the world, with their fate on the open sea, their thoughts on the ground, and their heart between two shores.

Ingredients per Mesciua

for 4/5 people
dried garbanzo beans 200 gr
dried cannellini beans 200 gr
wheat berries or farro 100 gr
olive oil, salt, black pepper as needed

Grains and Spoon

The night before, soak the beans separately, covering them with water, and let them sit for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse, then put garbanzo beans and wheat berries in a large pot of lightly salted cold water, bring to boil and simmer for about 1 hour and 1/2. Put the cannellini beans in a separate pot, cover with cold water and cook for about 1 hour. Add them with some of their liquid to the garbanzo and wheat berries, season with salt and cook for another 15 minutes. Season each plate with a bit of olive oil and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Refrain from parmesan cheese, according to the experts it would be a heresy!


Carol | a cup of mascarpone said... [Reply to comment]

This soup is wonderful!! Your photos are gorgeous!!! Would seriously love a bowl right now!

Tartlet Sweets said... [Reply to comment]

This is such a gorgeous dish, and so simple. I love it!

lapetitecuisine said... [Reply to comment]

So beautiful and very appealing dish!!

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