Fasolia goes by many different names, and versions of this honest peasant food are found all over the world. Each recipe originated because of what was grown in the area, but ultimately it is a white bean and tomato soup. The beans are soaked and then cooked slowly with vegetables to give flavour and body. I would be lying if I said that adding a handful of crispy pork lardons or slices of pastourma sausage doesn’t add a little more depth to the dish, but I wanted to stay true to its humble roots.

1 small onion, finely diced

1 stick/1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, plus a few leaves, finely chopped, to garnish

80g/1/2 cup freshly chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato purée/paste

135g/1 cup grated carrot a pinch of dried thyme

1 dried bay leaf

450g/3 cups drained canned cannellini beans

a splash of white wine

750 ml/3 cups hot water

salt and freshly cracked black pepper olive oil, for cooking and drizzling

a pinch of dried chilli/hot red pepper flakes, to garnish

a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, to serve

bread, to serve

Fry the onion and celery (not the leaves, save those for garnish) in a little olive oil on a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato purée, along with the carrot, thyme, bay and cannellini beans. Season generously with salt and plenty of cracked black pepper. Jiggle them all about a bit in the pan to get to know each other.

Add a splash of wine to the pan and reduce until almost gone, then top with the hot water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, just to let the ingredients melt a little into each other.

This is best served the following day and reheated, but if you can’t resist, let it rest for a while, then serve, garnished with fi finely chopped celery leaves, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, a little drizzle of olive oil, just a whisper of lemon juice and probably another hit of seasoning. I serve this with nothing more than a chunk of bread and an appetite.

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Orexi! Feasting at the Modern Greek Table

By Theo A.Michaels