Ribollita recipe

Bowl of ribollita, a Tuscan stew with tomatoes, cavolo nero and cannellini beans
 

This is a quicker (but not quick) version of Anna Jones’s Ribollita, which is a cherished recipe, but definitely not weeknight friendly. I use a chicken stock cube and Parmesan but you could use vegetable stock and leave out the cheese to make the dish vegetarian or vegan.

The ingredient quantities aren’t set in stone; increase the amount of bread for a thicker stew and chuck in any odds and ends of veg that need using up.

There’s quite a bit of chopping involved so if I’m feeling lazy (often) I swap the onion, carrots and celery for 350g of ready-made soffritto

Notes

I know I've been demanding with the herbs (rosemary, thyme AND basil) but they really make a difference. I use frozen herbs but dried would be fine. Parsley is a good substitute if you’re missing any of them.

The water from the cannellini beans is added to the stew. If your beans are salted, drain them and top up the stew with around 150ml of fresh water.

Ingredients

Serves: 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • small handful of basil leaves and stalks
  • leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
  • 1 tin plum tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 500ml stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 200g cavolo nero, stalks removed
  • 1 tin cannellini beans in unsalted water (400g, not drained)
  • black pepper
  • 100g stale ciabatta or sourdough bread
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • Parmesan, grated (to finish)

Method

  1. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Chop 1 large onion and add it to the saucepan. While it softens, dice 2 medium carrots and 3 sticks of celery. Add them to the saucepan and cook for around 10 minutes.
  2. Chop 3 cloves of garlic and stir them into the saucepan with a pinch of dried chilli flakes, a small handful of chopped basil leaves and stalks and the chopped leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary and 2 sprigs of thyme.
  3. Add 1 tin of plum tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 500ml of stock (chicken or vegetable) and 1 Parmesan rind (optional) to the saucepan.
  4. While the stew comes to a bubble, slice 200g of cavolo nero leaves and add them to the saucepan. Pour in 1 tin of cannellini beans including the (unsalted) water they came in and add some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for around 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened then turn off the heat.
  5. Tear 100g of stale ciabatta on top of the stew, drizzle over 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil then stir the bread and oil into the stew. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt if needed. Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan.