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'Frantoiana' soup

This delicious soup inspired by rural traditions demonstrates the importance of Versilia’s strong culture. Perhaps less famous than the‘ribollita’, this soup is seasoned with oil produced in the hills surrounding Lucca. Mountain herbs enhance its unique flavor.

Ingredients:
Serves six.
 1 kg of dried beans
60 grams of sliced, rolled lard (2 slices; 1 to 2 cm thick)
Mountain herbs of your choice (such as borage or chives)
100 grams leafy parsley
2 medium-sized leeks
200 grams pumpkin
3 potatoes
2 white cabbages
3 bunches of ‘braschetta’ or black cabbage
4 zucchini
3 bunches basil
3 bunches of populace
3 carrots
5 celery stalks
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
22 hot peppers
3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Fennel seeds to taste
5 or 6 cubes of stale bread per person
Salt and pepper

To prepare
Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in a pan; simmer with oil and chopped herbs. When the vegetables have lost much of their water, add in the pre-cooked beans. Add water to taste depending on how thick you wish the soup to be. Allow the vegetables to cook completely and then transfer the soup into a bowl, filled with large croutons made with toasted, stale bread. Wait for the bread to soften and absorb the broth. Serve the soup hot in a crock pot. Season with a little extra-virgin olive oil and pepper to taste. Leftovers are a great treat—even cold.  
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Golden beaches, little towns and nature parks worth discovering, a mild climate and nightlife brimming with performances and entertainment: this is Versilia. ...
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