This soup is described by the writers as a stable of Cilento countryside eating, and we can see why: it's classic cucina povera. A thin broth made with chestnuts and legumes, it might seem like a light starter, but cereals and beans make it heartier than you'd imagine, and it would work just as well as a main.

Ingredients

  • 100g pearl barley
  • 100g lentils
  • 100g dried peas
  • 100g dried cannellini beans
  • 100g dried chickpeas
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled but whole
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 400g fresh chestnuts, shelled and peeled
  • Salt and pepper

For serving

  • 6-8 slices bread, toasted
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Chopped chilli pepper (optional)

Method

  1. In separate bowls, cover the barley, lentils, peas, beans, and chickpeas with water and soak for 12 hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, tomato and garlic and stir until soft. Remove the garlic as soon as it browns.
  3. Add the soaked legumes, enough cold water to cover the vegetables and legumes, the sage and rosemary. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the chestnuts and cook, stirring from time to time, until everything is tender, about 45 minutes, adding hot water if necessary.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  6. Place a piece of toast at the bottom of each bowl and ladle in the soup.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with chilli pepper (if using), and serve.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast from The Silver Spoon; photography Simon Bajada. Phaidon, £24.95. uk.phaidon.com.