Mussels, potatoes and beans: the soup you don't expect – Italian Cuisine

Mussels, potatoes and beans: the soup you don't expect

A consistent dish full of flavors, perfect for the coldest evenings. Here's how to prepare it

If you think of a dish that warms the heart and offers some comfort in these difficult days, let yourself be seduced by mussel, potato and bean soup, a first course full of aromas, with a dense consistency and flavors that combine hints of sea and earth. One of those dishes that require time and patience, the result of which, however, will repay any effort. And of those who the next day, they are even better!

Soaking the beans

To prepare this soup you can choose different types of beans. However, the most suitable are still borlotti beans, which must be left to soak from the night before, remembering to change the water several times a day. This operation allows the legumes to lose phytic acid, a phosphorus-based substance contained in these foods. This acid binds to minerals with which it forms insoluble compounds, thus preventing the body from assimilating them. In this way it becomes impossible for the body to absorb the minerals contained in food, resulting in a lack of these very important elements. Soaking the legumes and then cooking them, phytic acid degrades and in this way the minerals become bioavailable.

Mussels are not all the same

Starting from Trieste up to Taranto and then to Sardinia, the whole Italian coast is scattered with mussel farms, with a slightly different shape and aroma from each other. Among the best known, there are those Trieste, about 6 cm long and with a lighter pulp. Those of the province of Rovigo, the only Italian DOP, with a larger pulp than the others and a sweetish flavor; the Adriatic ones, the best known, very savory and fleshy. In front of the promontory of Conero instead a type of mussels is growing which reproduces naturally and which due to its organoleptic characteristics has become a Slow Food Presidium. Then there are the Neapolitan, with a sapid and tasty yellowish color, perfect for the famous impepata, and then those of Taranto, small, pink in color and very tasty pulp, once called the black gold of Taranto, due to the rich production that flourished in the Apulian city. Let's not forget the Sardinian mussels, from those of Olbia to those of Gulf of Oristano. Choose your favorites!

The recipe for mussel, potato and bean soup

Here's how to prepare this dish.


1 kg of cleaned mussels, 300 g of potatoes, 100 g of soaked borlotti beans, 1/2 red onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.


Put the mussels in a large pan, cover and over low heat let them open. Once opened, shell them and filter the cooking liquid. Leave only a few with the shell for decoration. Take the beans, boil them in water flavored with the bay leaf, drain and then keep the cooking liquid. Also boil the potatoes in their skins. Once warm, peel them and cut them into squares. In a pan, prepare a sauce with finely chopped oil, onion and garlic. Add the spoonful of flour, the liquid of the mussels, that of the beans and the tomato paste. Mix well. Add the mussels, beans, potatoes and cook until the desired density is reached. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the table.

In the tutorial some tips for a very good soup

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