This is my recipe for ribollita, a Tuscan bean stew that is thickened with yesterdays bread, doused with your best olive oil, and loved by whomever it graces with its presence. It is also a dish that I always make a shitload (yes, this is an actual unit of measurement) of and hope there is enough left over for the freezer, or at least the next day.
It’s also a great garnish for a braised pork hock for easy entertaining, or shred leftover roast lamb or chicken into it and reduce a little further for a hearty stew, take the bread out if you are gluten intolerant, add a couple of extra vege’s if they need to be used, serve with thick cut bacon and poached eggs for breakfast… it’s unstoppable. It can become your new best friend if you let it.
Just like it did to my mate Micky. It seduced him like a… well, like only a ribollita could. And this is for him…
500g dried cannellini beans, soaked in water over night (this recipe is definitely better if you cook the bean yourself with the extra flavours, but if you’re short of time use tinned beans. Prolly three tins)
5 cloves garlic, bruised with the flat side of a knife
1 palm sized piece of parmesan rind (the waxy bit you cut off your parmesan if you buy it in wedges… you do grate your own parmesan, don’t you?)
1 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
Cook beans with above flavourings. This should take about 40 minutes. Remove flavourings, pulse 2-3 times with a stick wizz just to break up a few of the beans. This is NOT a pureed soup.
1 stick celery, med dice
1 small fennel, med dice
1 carrot, med dice
1 onion, med dice
1 garlic cl, crushed
1 tspn each thyme, rosemary, ground coriander seed
1 pinch chilli flakes or fresh chilli, or more if you like it hot
1.5 lt water or stock if you have some*
2-3 tins crushed tomatoes
In a heavy based pot** big enough to fit everything plus a little more, sweat off vegetables and spices over medium heat until just starting to colour.
Add all liquids to pot and cook out on a very low heat for one hour.
Add 1 bunch of finely sliced cavolo nero and a cup of course bread crumbs made from that kickass loaf of woodfired ciabatta or sourdough you got from the farmers market yesterday.
Check seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.
Invite a heap of friends over (or maybe do that a bit before you start cooking) and tell them to bring a heap of wine. Douse the soup with extra olive oil, parmesan and salsa verde or pesto if you have some. have some extra bread to serve. Then eat, drink and get really merry, and say thankyou to the ribolitta for such a great fucking night.
*I’m defo gonna tell you about making stock next up.
**heavy based pots are the ones that actually feel heavy and cost more than the forty-five-dollar-nine-piece-set you have now. They help to prevent burning and keep an even temperature. Get one now. Go… get off your swivel chair and go!