Modernized Ancient Bean Soup of Matera Italy

The ancient city of Matera was a highlight on one of our previous trips to Italy. Here is the link to the post in 2017 describing our day in MATERA. It was hard to grasp standing among the ruins and slightly renovated cave homes how the people lived on the cliffs of the mountains in ancient times.

So when I received this cookbook for Christmas “Food of the Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing and Lost Dishes” I was thrilled to see that several recipes originated in Matera. The bread recipe that Matera is famous for is included along with the sourdough starter instructions – a definite one to try soon! 

The recipe I chose to try today is called Crapiata (simple translation – bean soup). It is a traditional Matera soup made in August to celebrate the end of the harvest season and served cold (although we ate it hot off the stove and it was very good). The original recipe calls for cicerchie (grass peas) but after reading that these beans/peas contain neurotoxins that might be harmful, I decided to leave them out and substituted scarlet runner beans that we grow and dry for use in recipes. 

Try as I might to stay true to the traditional recipe, I did add a few ingredients along with a couple of substitutions. All in all, the soup was delicious and delivered a nostalgic note of a much-treasured trip to Matera in years past. 

Mix of beans and grains used in the recipe. 

Soup cooking on the stove. It makes a large pot of soup!

Ready to eat with a drizzle of olive oil on top. Yum!

Unfortunately, the soup did not photo well, but what it lacked in photogenic ability, was made up for in flavor. 


8-10 servings

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  • 1/2 cup dried farro
  • 1/2 cup dried wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup dried fava beans
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas*
  • 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup dried scarlet runner beans (or choose a favorite dried bean of your choice)
  • 1/2 pound potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 links Italian sausage
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Soak all beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse before using.
  2. Pre-cook sausage removing casings and breaking up into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, place all pre-soaked beans and enough water to cover the beans by at least an inch or two. Add wine.
  4. Season with salt and bring beans to a simmer on low heat. Cook until tender - about 2 hours.
  5. Add sausage, potatoes, onions, carrots and celery and continue to cook until all ingredients are cooked through - for about 1-2 more hours.
  6. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with olive oil at room temperature or hot off the stove.


* I substituted dried black eyed peas for the dried chickpeas because I didn't have any at the time of making this recipe. I will definitely use them next time, although the black eyed peas were tasty. The original recipe can be found on page 65 of the cookbook "Food of the Italian South".


Calories: 2231 cal
Carbohydrates: 319 g
Fat: 50 g
Sodium: 1556 g
Cholesterol: 83 g
Protein: 98 g
Fiber: 80 g

1 thought on “Modernized Ancient Bean Soup of Matera Italy”

  1. Thank you for this ancient, artisanal recipe. My Italian ancestors (Zarlenga, Fossececa, and Magnelli family names) made a very similar recipe on New Year's Day along with homemade pork sausage for good luck, health, and prosperity in the New Year. Perhaps finding this recipe today is a sign that it is going to be a good year indeed :) Buon Capo d'Anno!

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