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HomeFoodThe Greatest Ribollita Recipe: A Step-by-Step How-to

The Greatest Ribollita Recipe: A Step-by-Step How-to

Right here we sit, deep within the abyss of February, in want of soup mugs, DayQuil, hope, and nourishment. So thank goodness for recipes like Russell Norman’s spin on ribollita, the Tuscan bread soup whose comforting heft provides sustenance for each physique and spirit. The recipe, which is constructed from a sturdy trinity of cannellini beans, kale, and rancid bread, comes from Brutto: A (Easy) Florentine Cookbook. Revealed final October, it was Norman’s fourth cookbook, and, sadly, his final: in November, the restaurateur, chef, and creator died unexpectedly on the age of 57.

Each Brutto and its ribollita recipe encapsulate the big-hearted aptitude that characterised Norman’s work. Norman broke onto London’s restaurant scene in 2009, when he and his then-business associate Richard Beatty opened Polpo, a Venetian-style spot whose informal, stripped-down environment, no-reservations coverage, and menu of small plates proved to be vastly influential amongst eating places in London and overseas — Norman, as soon as known as “the good man in meals,” is well known as one of many progenitors of the small-plates pattern, and Polpo’s nice success led him and Beatty to open quite a few eating places collectively. Brutto, which Norman opened on his personal in 2021, was impressed by Florentine trattorie; its identify interprets to “ugly” and is a nod to “brutto ma buono,” or ugly however lovely, a time period typically used to explain fantastically good however unphotogenic meals.

Just like the restaurant, Brutto the cookbook is paradoxically stuffed with magnificence; it’s there in Jenny Zarins’s images of Florence and its delicacies, within the generosity of spirit that pervades the recipes, and within the love with which Norman writes in regards to the metropolis. It’s within the inherent promise of this ribollita, too: whether or not you make a pot to eat by yourself or to function the centerpiece for a comfy ceremonial dinner, right here is heat that can maintain you for so long as the solar is away.

Cannellini Bean and Cavolo Nero Broth (Ribollita) Recipe

Serves 4


300g dried cannellini beans
1 complete head of cavolo nero
Additional virgin olive oil
1 massive onion, finely diced
1 massive carrot, peeled and finely diced 1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed a small handful of thyme leaves black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 massive potato, peeled and diced
300 milliliters vegetable inventory
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 loaf of stale bread, crustless, torn into small chunks


Step 1: Soak the beans in a single day in loads of chilly water in a really massive bowl.

Step 2: The subsequent day, once you’re prepared to start out cooking, drain the beans and switch them to a big pan. Cowl them effectively with contemporary chilly water, convey to the boil, then scale back to a low simmer for 1 hour till mushy. Take away the scum whereas cooking because it involves the floor. Retain a cup of the cooking water, drain the beans and set them apart.

Step 3: To arrange the pinnacle of cavolo nero, take away the bottom, then seize the thick ends of the stalks with one hand and gently pull the leaves away. Discard the stalks and base and roughly shred the leaves.

Step 4: In a big, heavy-based saucepan, warmth a very good glug or two of olive oil and gently sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic for a very good quarter-hour, till mushy and shiny. Add a pinch or two of salt, the crushed fennel seeds, the thyme and a twist of black pepper. Stir within the tomato purée.

Step 5: Now add the cooked beans, the diced potato, the inventory and the bay leaf, and stir over a medium warmth for about 45 minutes. Midway by, add the chunks of stale bread and the shredded cavolo nero. Make certain the substances are submerged and at all times lined by liquid, stirring infrequently. Use the reserved bean cooking water if the broth is trying too dry.

Step 6: Take away the bay leaf and style, adjusting the seasoning as required. Serve in 4 warmed bowls with a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Or go away it in a single day and reheat the subsequent day, staying true to the identify of the dish.

Reprinted with permission from Brutto: A (Easy) Florentine Cookbook by Russell Norman revealed by Ebury Press, 2023. Pictures by Jenny Zarins, copyright © 2023.



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