La Fagiolina del Trasimeno - recipes with a noble bean
As early as 2,500 years ago, around the Lake Trasimeno, a type of bean was cultivated by the Etruscans. These beans were an integral part of the diet for centuries due to its high content of protein. In the 20th century they were almost completely replaced by the easier to grow and larger South American bean varieties. The "Fagiolina del Trasimeno" was threatened to fall into oblivion.
A few years ago our friend Fabio Berna, a young organic farmer from Castiglione del Lago, found in the attic a few jars of seeds that his grandparents had grown. He and some other farmers began to systematically grow the Trasimeno beans again, with great success! In 2000, the Trasimeno bean was awarded a Slow Food specialty.
The Trasimeno beans do not mature all at the same time. During the harvest season the farmer has to go out into the field every day to collect the just ripened beans, a rather tedious task.
There are creamy white Trasimeno beans with a very delicate taste and the stronger colorful Trasimeno beans with a slightly nut-like taste.
Photos: Fabio Berna, Azienda Agricola Melgrani
Delicious recipes with the Fagiolina del Trasimeno
The Trasimeno beans do not need to be soaked. All you have to do is to wash them and then cook them for half an hour with a piece of carrot and a small onion. It is important that you do not add any salt at this stage, otherwise the beans will not swell properly and the fine taste will be extracted.
Drain the beans, remove the vegetables, add hot salted water and a sprig of rosemary. The water should barely cover the beans. Allow to simmer for another 20 minutes and then pour off any excess salt water.
Purists can enjoy the Fagiolina without further ingredients, e.g. on a bruschetta (toasted white bread) drizzled with fresh olive oil and seasoned with some pepper, or as a side dish, for example to grilled or roast pork, of course also drizzled with olive oil.
But you can refine the whole thing - here are some recipe suggestions:
Fagiolina a modo di Fabio Berna
For 4 to 5 persons:
250 g Fagiolina, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 1/2 leek, 300 g cherry tomatoes, olive oil
Cook the Fagiolina with a carrot and an onion as described above. Do not add rosemary on the second cooking session in salt water for this recipe.
Fry the leek, cut into fine rings, in olive oil. Remove the leek and keep the oil warm
In a second pan, fry a carrot and an onion (both finely chopped) in olive oil. Add the drained beans and the diced cherry tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes.
Arrange in small bowls and drizzle with the olive oil with leek flavor. Of course, if you like, you can also eat the fried leek, but the taste of leek is actually too strong for the delicate beans.
Fagiolina for gourmets
For 6 persons
250 g fagiolina, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 sprig of rosemary, 40 g fresh black truffle, olive oil, salt, pepper.
Cook the Fagiolina with the carrot, onion and rosemary as described above.
Drain, remove the vegetables and fill the beans in small bowls. Grate the truffle on top, add olive oil, a little salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Where to buy the Fagiolina del Trasimeno
You can order the Fagiolina del Trasimeno directly from Fabio Berna, Azienda Agricola Melagrani, in his Online-Shop.
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