Although I’m 100% Ischian and adore Neapolitan cuisine, I lived my first 35 years in Tuscany which has left me with some small culinary influences, which I keep to remind me of the friendly people who helped me discover Tuscan customs and flavours.
Tuscan cuisine is very poor compared to the Neapolitan, apart from the richness of its meats, bone steak, venison, sausages etc., It is certainly not the variety of foods and recipes that we have in southern Italy, thanks also to the imagination and the goodness of local products. The first course dishes are mainly soups: ribollita, spelt soup, or the famous tomato soup.
I learned to do ribollita thanks to a couple of dear friends, husband and wife, who once visited us in Ischia, so one day we got busy with saucepans and knives to clean a large amount of vegetables to prepare the “bread soup”. Yes, because the ribollita began, as the name suggests, from double cooking. The first cooking is the bread soup, what is left you put into the pan the next day or the following days and … it boils. Of course, it is the tastiest soup ever.
If you want to try the ribollita, you need lots of patience and time. It is certainly not a last minute dish :-) The quantities are difficult to specify, typically using a big variety of vegetables, you’re going to fill a pot. But don’t worry, once cooked you can easily freeze.
Ingredients: carrots, potatoes, zucchini, celery, onion, leek, cabbage, chard, escarole, black-leaf kale, cauliflower, tomatoes (even canned), cannellini beans, stale bread, extra virgin olive oil, salt
1st Day: Put all ingredients cleaned, peeled and cut into small pieces (size doesn’t matter they have to cook a lot and melt), into a large saucepan, season with oil and cover with water. Boil over medium heat until all vegetables are cooked, towards the end of cooking time add the previously boiled beans. When the vegetables are well cooked, turn off the heat, adjust salt and add 3-4 slices (depending on the amount of vegetables) of stale bread. Cover with a lid and let the bread soak well. Stir to obtain a homogeneous soup. At this point it could be eaten as a bread soup.
2nd Day (and following days): Put the bread soup into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Serve hot, garnished with a dribble of olive oil.
This is our first recipe in english and contribution to english edition #322 of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, now organized by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once and hosted this week by Fragoliva!