Zuppa di Fagioli with Meyer Lemon, Fennel and Parsley Gremolata

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 105 minutes
Servings: 6

This variation on the Italian bean soup, zuppa di fagioli, was developed by Aria Alpert Adjani, culinary director and co-founder of the modern farmstead Noci Sonoma. She adds chipotle chile powder for a pop of heat and crimson color, then tops each serving with a gremolata made from Meyer lemon, fennel and parsley for a pop of flavor. Hearty and restorative, this soup is perfect for a fall day.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) dried porcini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups (14 oz./440 g) dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) vegetable or chicken broth or water
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper


For the gremolata:

  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 large Meyer lemon
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

  • Grated pecorino cheese for serving

Directions:

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil with the red pepper flakes. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, fennel seeds, chile powder and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the beans and broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam from the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot and cook until the beans are quite tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste and cook, uncovered, for a few more minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using a large ladle, carefully transfer about half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata: In a bowl, stir together the fennel, parsley, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, salt, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.
 
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of the gremolata and cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Recipe courtesy of Aria Alpert Adjani, culinary director and co-founder of Noci Sonoma

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