21 November 2012

RIBOLLITA

RIBOLLITA
The first time I had Ribollita was in Florence at Il Latino - a MUST if you go to Florence, and not only because of their Ribollita!  :-) I was expecting a soup and was surprised about its thick and stewy consistency (there's a picture on their website). This is because a large portion of the cooked vegetable and beans are pureed, and also at the end the bread is left to dissolve inside the soup. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious and we actually had it on two occasions during our short stay. It is so hearty and tasty, and the slight bitterness of the black kale = 'cavolo nero' is just exquisite. Ribollita, like many superb dishes, is originally a peasant dish and was traditionally made on Fridays to use up the week's left-overs. Because of this there are endless variations but as long as they contain beans, two kinds of cabbage or kale and bread they can be called Ribollita. Also, 'ri-bollita' means 're-heated', as the soup is first prepared and then reheated on the next,
and the following days, with the addition of dried bread and a drizzle of olive oil. The bread traditionally used is stale unsalted Tuscan bread = 'Pane Toscano'. We did not have this, but, having already bought the ingredients fresh rather than using left-overs, and at least a little bit in keeping with tradition, we added semi-stale pieces of our home-made SOUR-DOUGH BREAD. The fennel and caraway seeds in the bread added another surprising dimension. Unfortunately not many chances for us for 're-bollit-ing', as ours was eaten very quickly... will make twice the amount next time...   :-)

Recipe based on: Giallo Zafferano: 'Ribollita'
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Serves 4-5
250g dry white Italian Cannellini beans
250g cavolo nero = black kale
250g savoy cabbage
1 carrot, app. 90g
1 celery stick, app. 50g
1 leek, app. 200g
1 medium onion, app. 150g
1 large or two smaller potatoes, app. 180g
1 fresh (or 100g tinned) tomato
hand-full parsley
50ml extra virgin olive oil, and more for sprinkling on later
salt
freshly milled black pepper
150g Tuscan, or other, stale, bread
Parmesan

Although showing in the picture, we made the Ribollita in the end without garlic.
RIBOLLITA
Soak the beans overnight: put the beans into a large bowl, top with plenty of cold water, cover and leave to stand overnight. On the next day, drain the beans, put them into a large pot, cover with plenty of water and cook gently for app. 1 hour, or until soft. It should be easy to squish them between thumb and forefinger. 
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
Meanwhile, wash and prepare the vegetables: cut bigger stems out of the black kale along the leaves, then cut them into small pieces. Roughly chop the leaves. 
RIBOLLITA
Peel the tomato, remove the seeds then cut it into small cubes. To do so, first cut a cross into the tomato on the top with a sharp knife, then pour boiling water over. Leave the tomato in the hot water for a couple of seconds, then put it into iced water. Very soon the skin will start to peel off. Finish peeling the whole skin off with the aid of a small knife. 
Cut the savoy cabbage into smaller pieces removing the trunk, then cut into stripes. Peel the first layer off the leek, then wash and cut into rings. Cut the celery stick first lengthwise a couple of times, depending on thickness, then cut the sticks into small cubes. Peel the carrot and potato, then cut both into small cubes. Peel the onion and cut into small dice. Chop the parsley. 
RIBOLLITA
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, leek and cabbage stems and fry until softened. Add the tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes. 
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
Add the cabbage, kale, potatoes and parsley, stir well and fry for a couple of minutes. 
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
Once the beans are cooked strain them, keeping the liquid for later. Put 2/3 of the beans into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary. Add the remaining liquid to the soup into the pot. 
RIBOLLITA
Add hot water to the pot so that the vegetables are completely covered, then add salt to taste. Stir and leave to simmer on low heat for app. 1.5 hours or until the vegetables are soft. 
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
Once the vegetables are soft, remove 2/3 into another pot and blend with a hand-blender to a coarse texture. Add the blended vegetables back into the pot, followed by the blended beans. Stir to combine. 
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
When ready to eat, add the bread on the top, followed by a splash of olive oil and, true to its name: reheat the Ribollita.
RIBOLLITARIBOLLITA
Serve, sprinkled with olive oil and grated Parmesan. 
RIBOLLITA


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RIBOLLITA


RIBOLLITARIBOLLITARIBOLLITA


Serves 4


250g dry cannellini beans
250g cavolo nero = black kale
250g savoy cabbage
1 carrot, app. 90g
1 celery stick, app. 50g
1 leek, app. 200g
1 medium onion, app. 150g
1 large or two smaller potatoes, app. 180g
1 fresh (or 100g tinned) tomato
hand-full parsley
50ml extra virgin olive oil, and more for sprinkling on later
Salt
freshly milled black pepper
150g Tuscan, or other, stale, bread
Parmesan

Soak the beans overnight: put the beans into a large bowl, top with plenty of cold water, cover and leave to stand overnightOn the next day, drain the beans, put them into a large pot, cover with plenty of water and cook gently for app. 1 hour, or until soft. It should be easy to squish them between thumb and forefinger. Meanwhile, wash and prepare the vegetables: cut bigger stems out of the black kale along the leaves, then cut them into small pieces. Roughly chop the leaves. Peel the tomato, remove the seeds then cut it into small cubes. To do so, first cut a cross into the tomato on the top with a sharp knife, then pour boiling water over. Leave the tomato in the hot water for a couple of seconds, then put it into iced water. Very soon the skin will start to peel off. Finish peeling the whole skin off with the aid of a small knife. Cut the savoy cabbage into smaller pieces removing the trunk, then cut into stripes. Peel the first layer off the leek, then wash and cut into rings. Cut the celery stick first lengthwise a couple of times, depending on thickness, then cut the sticks into small cubes. Peel the carrot and potato, then cut both into small cubes. Peel the onion and cut into small dice. Chop the parsley. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, leek and cabbage stems and fry until softened. Add the tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the cabbage, kale, potatoes and parsley, stir well and fry for a couple of minutes. Once the beans are cooked strain them, keeping the liquid for later. Put 2/3 of the beans into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary. Add the remaining liquid to the soup into the pot. Add hot water to the pot so that the vegetables are completely covered, then add salt to taste. Stir and leave to simmer on low heat for app. 1.5 hours or until the vegetables are soft. Once the vegetables are soft, remove 2/3 into another pot and blend with a hand-blender to a coarse texture. Add the blended vegetables back into the pot, followed by the blended beans. Stir to combine. When ready to eat, add the bread on the top, followed by a splash of olive oil and, true to its name: reheat the Ribollita. Serve, sprinkled with olive oil and grated Parmesan. 
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