Friday, July 12 2024

It is absolutely true that when we think of soup, of the real, traditional and nutritious soup here in Naples, we immediately think of Menesta ‘maretata (ministra maritata): a very old, portentous and very tasty dish that comes from the combination of simple vegetables and some kinds of meat.

If this soup was called “pignato grasso,” given the caloric percentage of its components, we can say that meat (even its scraps) was not at the mercy of all Neapolitans.

For this reason there exists in the Neapolitan culinary tradition another, poorer soup called “pignato magro” (i.e., meatless).

Such soup is precisely made from beans and escarole.

It may be called “pignato magro,” but this dish is a unique, nutritious dish and served hot can literally warm the heart.





  • 11 oz of escarole
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • dried oregano to taste
  • fresh chili pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leayes
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • homemade italian bread
  • 2 cups of dried cannellini beans



To prepare beans and escarole, start by soaking the cannellini beans.

Then pour them into a container covering them with water and leave them like this for 12 hours.

After this time has elapsed, rinse the beans under running water, then pour them into a pot with plenty of water.

Add bay leaves and bring to a boil.

Then cook over simmering heat for 2 1/2 hours, removing the foam that forms on the surface with the help of a ladle.

When cooked, drain the beans and keep the cooking water aside.

Chop the chili and peel two cloves of garlic.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil with the two peeled garlic cloves and then pour in the beans you have previously cooked, and flavor with the chili pepper,oregano, and salt and blanch for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Then wash and cut the escarole into strips and add it to the beans.

Pour in the cooking water from the beans or alternatively use vegetable broth (about 1 cup).

Cover with a lid and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, take care of the croutons: slice a loaf of bread, line a baking sheet with baking paper and spread the bread slices, season with oil salt and pepper to taste and then toast the croutons for 5 minutes at about 350 F or until golden brown.

Once the bean and escarole soup is cooked serve it still very hot accompanying the toasted bread slices.

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