Minestra di Fagioli

Contributed by: Tuscan Women Cook

Minestra di Fagioli

Recipe type: Yield: 4-6 Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

Minestra di Fabioli is just one of the recipes participants at Tuscan Women Cook learn to make from the local “nonnas” (or grandmas) in the Tuscan village of Montefollonico. And just like Sophia Loren and pretty much every one of our nonnas, minestra di fagioli improves with age.


10 oz         White beans – dry, preferably cannellini beans
4 oz           Pearl barley (optional)
2               Carrot – large
3               Celery stalk
2               Onion – small
2               Tomato can
1/3 C        Olive oil
                 Salt and pepper – to taste


  1. *Many versions of this recipe implore you to make the soup at least one day before you’re going to serve it, letting every ingredient meld together into the ultimate Italian zuppa.
  2. Soak the white beans overnight in plenty of cold water.
  3. The next morning, drain the beans and place in a saucepan with cold water and cook until tender.
  4. If using barley, soak overnight in plenty of cold water.
  5. The next morning, drain the barley and place in a saucepan of water and cook for 30 minutes and drain again.
  6. Slice, dice, and sauté the carrots, celery, and onions in the olive oil for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Add the beans and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook gently for another 20-30 minutes.
  9. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for another 15 minutes.
  10. Take off the heat and put through a passo tutto (food mill).
  11. Add water if necessary.
  12. Add the barley if using and heat the soup for another 10 minutes.
  13. Serve in warm soup bowls with a drizzle of olive oil.

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