I’ve wanted to make ribollita for quite a while. Every cookbook I open, I see a recipe for the soup. Food From Plenty, the Acorn House Cookbook, they’ve all got one. Not to mention the Hugh and Nigel recipes in the guardian over the past couple of months. So I has to make it, simply because I couldn’t quite understand what there was to love so much about a cabbage soup. I mean, I love cabbage in a soup, but, there’s something in me that always wants to add a bit of pig. It doesn’t matter whether it’s bacon, sausage, chorizo or ham hock, more often than not, when I ’m using cabbage, I crave a bit of pork. But, living with a vegetarian, I don’t think things would go well if I slipped a little pancetta into my sofrito, so I don’t. But I just wanted to say, if I could, even with this big and delicious ribollita, I would.
Another reason I decided on ribollita is because I had a bread baking date with a girl who lives in my block, and although most recipes call for stale bread, or ciabatta, I didn’t think we could really go wrong with bread fresh from the oven, and it was really very good.
So, with all my ingredients and the garden in shadow unthinkably early, I set about soup making. I understand theat ribollita literally means ‘reboiled’ but I rarely have the foresight to make something for the next day, so I just made as much as I could fit in my pot, and cooked it very, very, very slowely. We’ll reboil the leftovers today, so that’s when we’ll eat proper ribollita, but for now, well, it’s a very delicious cabbage soup, I guess.
Two leeks, chopped
Four carrots, chopped
Three sticks of celery, chopped
Three cloves of garlic, finely chopped
One tin of chopped tomatoes
One tin of cannellini beans
500ml vegetable stock
Parsley leaves and stalks, separate, but finely chopped
In a big pan, over a low heat, warm some olive oil and cook the leeks, carrots and celery very gently for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat up slightly until there’s some very, very gentle caramalisation and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Add the garlic and chopped parsley stalks and let them all cook for about ten minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, kale and beans and cook for another 20 minutes.
Place a slice of bread, toasted or not (depending on desired sogginess) in the bottom of a bowl and ladle some soup on top.
Serve with parsley and a glug of olive oil.