Monday, January 9, 2017


This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) is "Foodgoals!". Having missed a few weeks of cooking with IHCC, I hope to get back on track as the new year starts. For this week, I've made Heidi Swanson's, Ribolitta, a thick Tuscan vegetable stew, in line with my foodgoals for the year, more healthy grains, beans and vegetables, and less of meat.

I've used dried haricot beans which I've soaked overnight and boil till tender the next morning before using them for the recipe. And some fresh kale leaves from my garden pot. For the stock, I've used Rapunzel vegetable stock bouillon, and later read that it is one of Heidi's favourite vegetable stock to use. I have some homemade leftover bread in the freezer, and it is a great way of using up the leftovers, just a small amount is needed to to thicken the stew.

To serve the stew, topped with some chopped oily black olives. I did not have oily black olives, so I have used black olives soaked in brine. And have omitted the drizzling of olive oil. 

I find that this is quite delicious. The recipe makes quite a lot, so I've made only about a third of the recipe. This stew freezes well. I thawed the frozen leftover, reheat over low heat with a few tablespoons of warm water, and it was just as good.

(adapted from, Heidi Swanson)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-ounce/400ml can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound/450gm cavolo nero (lacinato kale, Tuscan Kale), stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped
4 cups (620gm) cooked white beans
1/2 pound (225gm) crustless loaf of bread
1-1/2+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
lots of well-chopped oily black olives

In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot and red onion. Cook for 10-15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browing. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero,  3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups/2 liters water (I use vegetable stock). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water - until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20-30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or "ribolitta" meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.
Makes a large pot of soup - enough for 10 servings.
Prep time : 20 min  -  Cook time: 60 min

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week


  1. I am a huge fan of dried beans and kale! Unfortunately it's hard to get lacinato kale here, we are more the curly kale region, but I'll try this ribolitta with it later

  2. So comforting and delicious! I love the combo of beans and good for us.

  3. Envy you your homegrown kale! I made another version of this dish before with CCC, and it was delish!

  4. Sounds like a delicious bowl of soup, Joyce!

  5. Such a nice looking soup. I am enjoying learning new ingredients this week, and yours look delicious. I think a bowl of soup is the most comforting thing in the world. I could eat soup every day and this one would be so welcome here.

  6. I love Ribollita and haven't made it in ages. Your soup looks delicious. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week too. ;-)