April Bloomfield’s Summer Ribollita
Fresh cannellini beans 225g
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Head of celery 1 whole, cleaned and finely diced (reserve the bright yellow leaves)
Carrot 1 medium, peeled and finely diced
Red onions 2 medium, peeled, finely diced
Pequin chillis 4 dry, crushed (or 2 standard dried red chillis)
Olive oil 55ml
Heirloom tomatoes 450g, blanched, peeled
Flat leaf parsley 2 handfuls or marjoram loosely packed and then roughly chopped
Swiss chard 575g, stems removed and roughly chopped
Stale Italian bread enough to cover the cooking pot in one even layer when sliced about 1cm thick
Sea salt, black pepper and olive oil to finish
1. Place the fresh, uncooked beans in a pot and add just enough water to cover them. Then add half as much water again. Bring the water to the boil and turn down to a low simmer and cook until tender, but not mushy. Allow the beans to cool in their liquid.
2. If using dried beans, add water to cover and then add the same amount again. Cook as you would fresh beans but be aware that dried beans will take significantly longer to cook.
3. To make the soup, in a wide saucepan, fry the garlic, celery, carrot, onion and chillis in the olive oil over a medium heat.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, squeeze the tomatoes over a bowl to release their seeds and juice. Make sure to get all of the seeds out. Strain the seeds from the tomato liquid and reserve the juice. Discard the seeds.
5. After cooking the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until they are soft and lightly caramelised, add the parsley (or marjoram) and fry for another 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes with their liquid, and beat the tomatoes with a whisk. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes over a low heat. The tomato liquid should be absorbed by the other vegetables and your soup should be, once again, fairly dry. Now add the beans along with their cooking liquid and cook over a low heat, simmering for 20-25 minutes, or until the soup comes together: the various components should move together when stirred, but the soup should still be moist from the beans’ cooking liquid. Add the chard and fold it into the soup. Cover the surface of the pot with the bread and pour just enough hot water over it all to moisten the bread. Give the bread a generous drizzle of good olive oil and remove the pot from the heat. Let the soup sit unattended for 10 minutes, then stir to combine. It should be thick and delicious. Season with salt and pepper.
Follow Gail on Twitter: @GailMonaghanNYC
Follow Gail on Facebook: Gail Monaghan