Fagiolo Cannellino di Atina DOP is a legume grown in Southern Lazio, along the banks of river Melfa and the Mollarino stream. Here, the land is dark, alluvial, and rich in manganese, which gives this bean a really unique feature.: it has skin so thin that it does not need to be soaked in water before cooking. The varieties grown have adapted to the environment have become resistant to diseases, so that they do not need herbicides or fertilizers.
Beans have been the most important food of peasant families for over two centuries, in these poore areas. The first reports of the presence of kidney beans in the Atina township date back to the beginnings of 1800s and state that two varieties were grown, a red one (which is not used anymore) and a more valuable white one. In that period, agriculture was very underdeveloped and farmers were very poor: Pasquale Visocchi, an agronomist, was able to boost agricultural production using modern methods, enhanced the quality of local vineyards by planting fine French grapes and fostered the digging of irrigation canals, which are fundamental for the growth of beans. He also proved that cold water could be used for the delicate kidney variety, as long as the irrigation took place during the cool hours before dawn. The economy of that area owes a great deal to the intelligence and perseverance of this exceptional man.
Southern Lazio provides other valuable foods worth tasting: Atina DOC wine, Peperone di Pontecorvo DOP (Pontecorvo pepper), Picinisco Pecorino cheese and Campoli truffle.
Fagiolo Cannellino di Atina DOP is particularly tender and "creamy" when it is cooked thanks to its soft skin, and it is recommended for soups. Try it in a salad with olive oil, salt, pepper and few thin slices of onion! It is rich in vegetable proteins and low in fats, thus it is a very helot food.
A tip for cooking it: put the in cold water, then boil them for 45 minutes with celery, carrot and onion, and season it with salt in the end.