One of the simplest and most satisfying soups I have ever made is Fasuoli cu l’accia, a bean and celery soup. This soup was unknown to me in Calabria, but my husband enjoyed it regularly as a child growing up in Palermo. You would find this soup in many of Palermo’s homes at this time of year, and it is considered a dish of the cucina povera (cooking of the poor). The thought of combining beans and celery seemed a strange and unusual combination to my Calabrian palate, but last week when we were discussing comforting fall dishes, my husband recalled how much he loved when his mother would make Fasuoli cu l’accia. I decided to surprise him one evening by making the soup, not knowing what it would taste like or if I would like it. I fell in love with this soup with the first spoonful. The combination of the creamy cannellini beans and the celery melted in my mouth. It truly brought comfort to my soul.
This soup is so simple to make that you don’t even need a recipe, but I will provide a recipe to guide you in the proportions.
Only three ingredients are needed to make this soup: cannellini beans, celery, and one onion as well as some extra virgin olive oil, water, and salt.
Soak the beans the night before or at least for 10 to 12 hours before making the soup.
Chop a large onion and sauté with olive oil until translucent.
Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the drained soaked beans and bring back to a boil. After 15 minutes add the chopped celery.
Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to an hour until the soup has thickened and the beans are soft and fully cooked. Add additional salt to taste.
If you like, place a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of your bowl and ladle the soup on top of the bread. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. I generously drizzled this soup with my favorite “Olio Verde” Novello (freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil just flown in from Sicily), making it absolutely irresistible.
Fasuoli cu l’accia (Bean and celery soup)
One pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
One large onion, coarsely chopped
One large bunch of celery, about 1.5 lbs, coarsely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
In a large pot add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped onion over medium heat until soft and translucent.
Add 10 cups of water and two tablespoons of salt to the pot with the onion and bring to a boil. Add the drained soaked beans and bring back to a boil. Turn down the heat and continue to cook the beans at a slow boil for about 15 minutes. At this point add the chopped celery.
Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are soft and fully cooked. The soup should be thick and creamy. Add additional salt to taste.
If you like, place a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of your bowl and ladle the soup on top of the bread. Drizzle generously with some extra virgin olive oil before serving.