Ribollita means ‘reboiled’ as this Italian soup was traditionally made in large quantities so it could be reheated on subsequent days. This hearty soup is a great example of how easy it is to cook good food on a budget – a big fat soup substantial enough to be the main course. Good peasant food that shows how humble ingredients can yield truly delicious results. I think the key to the creaminess of this recipe is blending half the beans. Nigel Slater recommends leaving it in the fridge overnight. It probably does taste even better the next day but I’ve never had the patience or made enough to find out.

Serves 2 (giant bowls)

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 4 handfuls of cavolo nero or kale, shredded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Drain and rinse the beans, then mash or blend half of them with a little water.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 10-15 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add the tomatoes, puréed beans, stock and herbs and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Shred the cavolo nero, add it to the soup with the rest of the beans and cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Remove the herbs and add some salt and pepper and serve with croutons made with olive oil or fresh crusty bread.



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