Ribollita is comforting, nourishing, satisfying and hearty – perfect for those colder
wintry days when you need sustenance of the highest order. It’s very easy to make
and uses up leftover sourdough bread that’s too good to throw away.
SERVES 6 | VEGETARIAN
3 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground fennel seeds
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans or borlotti
beans, drained and rinsed
400g can good-quality plum tomatoes
1½ litres good-quality vegetable stock (or
chicken stock or bone broth if you don’t
need to keep it vegetarian)
200g cavolo nero, stalks removed, leaves
2 large handfuls good-quality 2-day-old
sourdough bread, torn into chunks
100g baby kale
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
good-quality extra virgin olive oil
handful of basil and parsley leaves, torn
freshly ground black pepper
Start with what is known in Italy as a soffrito – a mixture of onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Heat a saucepan with a splash of olive oil and add the prepared onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until nicely tender and translucent; this should take 6–7 minutes. Do not allow the soffrito to catch or brown too much. If it starts drying out, add more oil or a splash of water.
Now add the chilli and fennel, and cook for a few minutes until the spices release their fragrant scent. Next add the beans, tomatoes and stock, bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 40 minutes.
Add the cavolo nero and bread, bring back to a gentle simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the baby kale and cook for a further minute or two, just until the greens have wilted and are lightly cooked. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and add a few good glugs of olive oil. Serve in bowls with fresh basil and parsley strewn over the top, along with a few shavings of Parmesan, some citrus oil and a few grinds of black pepper.
Delicious poured over ribollita, pizza, pasta, salads,
roasted chicken or fish, guacamole, etc.
MAKES ¼ CUP (SHORT VERSION) OR 1 CUP (LONG VERSION) | GLUTEN-FREE, VEGAN
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
approx. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
YOU WILL NEED
500ml glass jar with a well-fitting
lid, clean and dry for storage
For the short version, use a fine zester to peel the zest from the lemon. Place the zest in a cup or small jar, cover with the olive oil and allow to steep for an hour or so.
For the long version, use a peeler to remove the lemon zest in long thin ribbons. Pack these quite tightly in a glass jar and pour over just enough olive oil to completely cover the peel. Place somewhere dark and leave for 1–2 weeks.
For both versions, strain and store the oil in a bottle ready for use. It will keep on the pantry shelf for a few months.