Connections and Legumes
It is true that the mountain air makes you especially hungry but above all it makes even the simplest food taste special.
I was little more than twenty years old and a friend had just moved to the Pistoia Apennines, she was living in a very spartan house ... (but I only discovered this later), and she had invited me to go to her house to collect chestnuts.
It was a Friday evening in October, I had finished working in an office in Florence: and with my backpack I left for Sambuca Pistoiese in my Twingo.
Cell phones already existed; I had recently bought one, but coverage was limited, and besides Maya, my friend did not have a phone. However, she had been smart, she had drawn me a map full of details: in fact she lived in the woods and could only be reached on foot. You had to leave your car at the town cemetery and then walk off along the trails for at least an hour at a steady pace.
I am one of those people who feel safer in a wood than in a city, but on that occasion I felt like it was a "test of courage": me, the forest, the approaching darkness and the roars of mating deer not too far away , which by the way are not romantic at all ... have you ever heard them ?! It is a dark sound, almost humanl, not very fascinating.
The fact is that with my hand-drawn map, the torch, and my dose of adrenaline, I didn't take the wrong road, and by now almost at "bruzzico" (almost dark in Tuscany) I arrived in front of a stone and wood house where I could see smoke coming out of the chimney.
“Good sign, someone lives here”, I thought and in fact, as in a fairy tale, it was Maya was waiting for me at the hearth with other friends.
What a relief and what a victory to have arrived there alone, and what a scent rising from the stove and the clay pot!
This was the first time I tasted the basil and mint pea cream.
I don't know if it was the excitement, the exaltation, the friends, the red wine but I had never eaten such a good soup!
I forgot .... the next day we worked in “marroneta” ( the chestnut wood):we collected the conkers we crushed them with our feet, and with gloves and sticks we collected kilos and kilos of chestnuts.
Here is the recipe .... I have added Greek yogurt over the years. It gives a touch of freshness to the soup.Pea and Mint Cream1 cup of split peas1 clove of garlic1 sprig of fresh mint10 basil leavesa few leaves of sagesalt and peppera cup of Greek yogurtextra virgin olive oilWe wash the peas, put them in a pressure cooker and cook them with 3 cups of water, salt, sage, some of the mint and basil for 30 minutes.We blend everything with an immersion blender and add pepper.In the meantime we have prepared the yogurt sauce: in a cup add yogurt, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, mint and basil. We mix well.We serve the pea cream on plates and pour a little yogurt in the center.Enjoy your meal!!!