Friday, December 31, 2004

Ribollita

Ribollita is like minestrone, but includes beans instead of pasta. In Italy, this is traditionally served ladled over bread and a rich green vegetable, although you can omit this for a lighter version.
 
Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
2 large zucchini, finely sliced
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons pesto
3 3/4 cups vegetable stock
14 ounce can haricot or borlotti beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
Toppings:
1 pound of young spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6-8 slices of bread
Parmesan cheese shavings

How to make the soup:
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, celery and fennel and fry slowly for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini slices and fry for 2 minutes longer.
2. Add the crushed tomatoes, pesto, stock, and beans and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
3. To serve, fry the spinach in the oil for 2 minutes, or until it wilts. Spoon over the bread in soup bowls and ladle the soup over the spinach. Serve with extra olive oil for drizzling onto the soup and Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, if liked.

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