Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ribollita - An Italian Peasant Stew

Ribollita is a hearty Italian peasant soup I fell in love with years ago. It’s thicker than a minestrone and usually gets a lot of it’s tasty goodness from a dark cabbage called cavolo nero. Since we are in LA and not Italy I found kale to be a wonderful substitute for this classic stew. I started this dish with a basic reference from Jamie Oliver’s version of Ribollita and then made some changes (partly due to what was in my refrigerator and by merging some ideas from other recipes. As usual I made my version vegetarian, but many recipes include adding sausage to the soup.

1 can cannellini beans
1 bay leaf
1 tomato, squashed
1 potato
1 lrg brown onion
2 carrots, peeled
2 sticks of celery (including leaves)
3 cloves of garlic
1 lrg bunch of kale (don’t worry it reduces!), finely sliced
1 lrg diced tomato or 1 can of diced tomatoes (if winter)
a pinch of dried red chili flake
a pinch of ground fennel (can be excluded)
2 handfuls of good quality stale bread torn into chunks
salt and pepper to season
good quality olive oil and parmesan to top.

Bring to a boil the drained can of beans with the smashed tomato, half of the potato, and bay leaf and enough water to cover, for 25 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid, and drain beans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Finely dice onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and remaining potato. In a large oven safe pot heat olive oil and add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and potato with fennel seed and chili. Sweat on a low heat with the lid ajar for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft (stirring occasionally). Add a small amount of the bean cooking liquid, and deglaze the pot, scraping any browned bits from the bottom.

Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the cooked beans, ½ cup of the remaining cooking liquid and stir in sliced kale. Wait for kale to begin to reduce for a few minutes. Add in torn stale bread and remainder of cooking liquid (you can also substitute this for stock), and stir all together. Bake stew covered for 30 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, and top with splash of olive oil and parmesan cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment