Ribollita with chopping board pesto

21 January 2019

A delicious Italian soup that uses up leftover bread and vegetables, from Matt Pritchard.

Preparation time

15 minutes

Cooking time

50 minutes

Serves

2-3



Ingredients

For the croûtons

  • 3 thick slices of sourdough bread or ciabatta, crusts discarded and bread torn into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For the ribollita

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 400g can cannellini, borlotti or haricot beans
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 200g kale, woody stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the pesto

  • 40g basil leaves
  • 30g toasted pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

This thrifty Italian soup combines leftovers into a new meal. Traditionally, stale bread was added as a bulker, but can get a bit mushy – I’d rather have the texture of a crispy croûton.

My speedy pesto does away with the pestle and mortar. Think of it less as a paste, more as a pesto-esque garnish.

To make the croûtons, preheat the oven to 200˚C (Gas Mark 6). Toss the bread with oil and salt on a shallow baking tray.

Bake for 10–12 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crisp. (These can be stored in an airtight container.)

For the ribollita, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.

Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook gently over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until starting to soften.

Add the garlic, rosemary and bay leaf to the saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes more, then stir in the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, vinegar, beans and stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir the kale into the stew and cook gently for a further 20 minutes.

While the soup cooks, place the basil leaves on a chopping board with the pine nuts, garlic and lemon zest. Chop everything together until you have a crumbly green pile.

Place it in a bowl and stir in the oil.

When the soup is cooked, taste and tweak the seasoning to your liking. Serve with a tumble of croûtons and plenty of pesto on top.

Dirty Vegan

Dirty Vegan by Matt Pritchard is published by Mitchell Beazley, £20. Photography by Jamie Orlando Smith and Chris Terry. Dirty Vegan is on BBC One Wales and available on BBC iPlayer in January 2019.

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