I've been whining about the weather here a little too much in the last two posts and I think I got heard :) Yesterday was beautiful! It wasn't exactly warm, but good enough for me to walk around with a light jacket. So armed with my camera I went around taking photos of the vibrant blue skies spotted by the fluffy clouds. Everything just seemed so much more beautiful and I bet ppl who saw me on the road thought I must be crazy trying to photograph fallen leaves and pine cones and playing hide n seek with a squirrel :))
This is when he saw me, and then he kept circling the tree a little faster than I could and when he had gotten me pretty confused as to where he was, he ran down to the foot of the tree, dug up a tiny hole, buried his nut a.k.a Ice Age., and scurried off into the parking lot behind :))
Onto the recipe, I was in the mood for having soup a few weeknights back and saw that I had a can of cannelleni beans and some arugula in the fridge to use up. Last year on one of my 'kill-time' visits to Tjmaxx I picked up two cookbooks dedicated to soups (it was winter :D), the photos were soo tempting that I could not resist them. So I picked up one of the them and started flipping through the pages until I found one using cannellini beans for which surprisingly, I had most of the ingredients, even the ciabatta bread! The soup is called Ribollita, and I learnt from a search of the name that, it comes from the Tuscan region of Italy. Its uses fresh vegetables and bread, country style cooking all the way. The word actually means 'reboiled' and is another perfect example of how cooks have always tried to use up leftovers. This soup actually starts off as a Minestrone, gets eaten with bread the next day and is then reboiled the third day to end up as Ribollita! Somebody totally miscalculated and made a whole lot more soup than they needed! hehe
- 1 can - Cannellini beans
- 3 nos - medium sized ripe Tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup - carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup - Onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup - green peppers/capsicum, chopped
- 1 tsp - Garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp - Thyme leaves
- 2 tsp - Vegetable base + 2 1/2 cups water or veggie stock
- couple of handfuls of Greens - I used arugula.
Recommended options: Tuscan kale or savoy cabbage, increase the cook time to 5 mins if using these
- 2-3 thick slices of day old Ciabatta bread, torn into smaller pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 11/2 Tbsp - Extra virgin olive oil + for serving
Notes: The recipe starts off with the trinity - onion, carrots and celery. I did not have the last one and used a little chopped green peppers instead, I also skipped the garnish of parsley, not a huge fan of it.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions, green peppers and carrots for 5-6 mins stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste and continue to cook for 3-5 more mins until the veggies caramelize lightly.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 min so they soften. Now add the drained & washed cannellini beans, water, veggie base and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 more mins until the flavors come together.
- A few minutes before turning off the heat, add the washed greens, cover and cook. I switched the heat off as soon as I added the arugula as they are tender enough to get cooked in the residual heat.
- If serving immediately, stir in the bread pieces next and add more water if needed to have a thick consistency. Check for seasonings and serve with a drizzle of olive oil. Since I was having it for lunch the next day, I skipped the bread step to avoid a really thick soup.
The soup was really yummy, the thyme was the star. If you notice they aren't any extra spices used, the ingredients used shine through and give the soup all its flavor. I liked the arugula in this too, since I did not overcook them and also left them whole with no chopping, they had some texture left and remained a bright green. I had the soup with some toasted ciabatta bread with olive oil for lunch the next two days, aboslutely loved it! This is one hearty and satisfying soup, and its surely going to give me company many more times this winter.