Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This is a traditional Tuscan peasant soup based on
Cavolo Nero, the Italian black cabbage (well, actually
is dark green in colour) that is now making its way into
Farmers Markets and fancy restaurants around New
Zealand. Cavolo Nero tastes like no other cabbages; in
fact it is so delicious that it improves any dish, even the
simplest ones, like Ribollita.

Ingredients (Serves 6)
A few leaves of Cavolo Nero
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 can peel tomatoes
2 L light vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1 can cannellini beans or borlotti beans
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of country style bread, best if one day old.

Wash the Cavolo Nero leaves, cut along the central
vain and remove it (this is quite hard). Set aside. Chop
the onion, carrot and celery into very small pieces and
place into a large stock pot. Sauté the vegetables with
a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the leaves of
Cavolo Nero cut into strips. When the cavolo nero start
wilting add the content of the tomato can and simmer
for 5 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
When the vegetables are soft add the cannellini beans
and the chopped parsley and cook for 5 more minutes.
Adjust with salt and pepper. At this point remove half
of the soup and blend into a mush. Pour back with the
remaining soup and stir. It may sounds crazy, but this
trick will make the final product taste even better. Place
a slice of bread at the bottom of each plate or serving
bowl and pour the soup on top. Drizzle with olive oil and

Ribollita means ‘boiled again’. In fact this soup is better
the day after, and traditionally it is ‘boiled’ again and
then poured over bread. If you prefer you can serve the
bread on the side.


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