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.
- 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
- 6-8 slices bread, toasted
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Chopped chilli pepper (optional)
- In separate bowls, cover the barley, lentils, peas, beans, and chickpeas with water and soak for 12 hours. Drain and set aside.
- 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.
- Add the soaked legumes, enough cold water to cover the vegetables and legumes, the sage and rosemary. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.
- Add the chestnuts and cook, stirring from time to time, until everything is tender, about 45 minutes, adding hot water if necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
- Place a piece of toast at the bottom of each bowl and ladle in the soup.
- 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.