On June 11th, 2016, I married the man of my dreams. A year later and I still don’t regret it, so I’d say it was a good choice 😉 In all seriousness though, getting married has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m not saying it’s for everyone or that you need a partner to be fulfilled in life, because you obviously don’t. For me though, Matt has been my constant support, source of humor, and love. So if you’re reading this Matt, thank you for being the best.
ANYWAY, enough of that gross love-y stuff, let’s get to the food! So after we were married, we went to Italy, specifically Tuscany. It was gorgeous and we now have very fond memories of our time spent there, but let me tell you…THE FOOD WAS AMAZING. I mean you could have guessed that, but it really was. Everything from the gelato to the bruschetta was amazing and flavorful and exactly what I needed at that moment (except for the bread, surprisingly). There is one specific dish that I remember though called ribollita that I fell in love with. Ribollita literally means reboiled (yea, I know some Italian, no biggie) and it really is a dish after a bean loving girl’s heart. It’s a traditional dish that can be found throughout Tuscany and it was described to us as what farmers would do with whatever vegetables and leftover bread they had. The texture, the flavors, and everything was so beautiful though (really though, tearing up thinking about it) that I knew I would have to try to recreate it.
I started by looking up recipes online for inspiration and quickly scratched that idea because none of them sounded like what I remembered. So I just winged it based on memories. And happily, I feel like I got it as close as I could! I smelled the pot and was pleasantly surprised to be taken back to when we were eating it in Italy. Anyway, I do hope you give this a try, it’s a great comfort food if ever there was one.
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 medium sized carrots, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 7 stems of tuscan kale, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 15 oz cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Hard/old bread torn into pieces (about 1/3 cup or more depending on the texture you like)
- Place a large, deep pot over medium heat until it heats up. Add the olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes on its own. Then add the carrots and celery and cook that all for about 8 minutes or until the onion starts to look a little yellow. Then add the tomato and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the vegetable mixture and make sure it is incorporated well.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pot.
- Add the beans and kale to the pot and mix them in well.
- Add the kale, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and mix in well.
- Add enough water so that it almost covers the vegetable/bean mixture but there still some pieces above water.
- Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. You can do it longer if you want the vegetables to be softer. Add more water if you need to.
- Add the torn up bread to the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes just so it becomes part of the stew but hasn’t completely lost it’s shape. You can start with about 1/3 cup of bread and work your way up from there if you want a thicker stew or do less if you want it less thick. This is up to you!
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add a freshly grated sharp cheese on top before serving.