Monday, 24 February 2014

La Ribollita,Tuscan Reverie

My sister-in-law and her husband are coming to stay. We are very close. On my birthday she wrote that I was her sister not in-law. My mother- in-law came from Tuscany and my husband and his sister spent a month there every Summer with their grandmother and cousins while they were growing up. Every time we visit Tuscany one of the culinary highlights is la Ribollita. I'm going to try and make it today because it is much better made in advance. One of the essential ingredients is cavolo nero, black cabbage which is really very dark green. It is not easy to find outside Tuscany but by chance I saw some in a sort of Farmers Market.
Here is the recipe , the list of ingredients is very long.I shall enjoy making it and then ai will enjoy seeing my husband and his sister revert to the mischievous happy children they were and remember their lovely Tuscan summer holidays.
La Ribollita
Serves 6
Half kilo beans, cannelini I think..
Half green cabbage
150g cavolo nero
Half kilo of ripe tomatoes or passata
4 sticks celery
4 bietole leaves
4 carrots
4 courgettes
Parsley and basil
1 potato
1 onion
2 small peperoncini - optional
1 leek
2 littes hot water
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Half kilo day old Tuscan style bread

Wash all the vegetables and cut into smallish pieces. Put everything except the beans,passata and bread into a large saucepan and let it simmer on a low heat until soft, use enough olive oil so it doesn't stick. Add the beans , passata and the hot water and simmer for about 2 hours , stirring occasionally.check the seasoning. 
When cold store in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze. 
When ready to serve, bring to the boil again - hence Ribollita- simmer for  about 15 minutes. Slice the bread thinly and place in the bowls. Ladle over the soup and let it rest for a few
Minutes. Add more oil and fresh ground black pepper if liked.
These are only some of the ingredients for La RibollitaAdd caption

My father-in-law was not from Tuscany and he was always a bit suspicious about this Tuscan soup. He thought it was very indigestible. Whenever we planned to go and visit the Tuscan relatives he liked to use me as an accomplice to get something else on the menu. He would ring them up and say that I had a different sort of digestive system, being foreign, so could they please make some simple pasta for me, and he would  have it too, so I didn't feel left out.

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