Ribollita, I Feel For You
"WHAT WAS THE BEST THING THAT YOU ATE WHILE LIVING IN ITALY?"
is not only a dumb question, but also, a trick question.
The answer is always wine.
\ree-boh-lee-tah\ a hearty Tuscan Bread and Bean Stew, ranks among the most glorious things that entered my mouth cavity alongside:
Tortellini fatto a mano in casa (homemade tortellini),
A meat and cheese platter shared with a friend visiting from Edinburgh,
And this piece of eye candy that I devoured while waiting for the bus.
(If I can't be ur bae, can I at least have ur shoes?)
Ribollita is a popular dish from the Tuscan region of Italy whose history can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
At the end of country estate banquets, peasants working the event would take leftover scraps of bread and schmear it in the juices of fabulous delicacies from finished plates of guests.
They would pocket the soggy bread in their aprons and bring it home to incorporate exquisite flavors into humble dishes as ribollita.
I followed in peasant tradition by taking home leftover multigrain bread at the end of my bakery shift at Café Pierrot in Sparta, New Jersey to use in my own iteration of this dish.
I did not dip the bread in leftover juices from our customer's plates because ew, but if I had to choose, I would have definitely mopped up the red wine reduction from their Beef Bourguignonne.
Assuming my bag of scraps would be safe, I left the bread in our bread basket, as my family generally avoids any variety of "brown bread" like it's Ebola.
CURSE MY NAIVETÉ.
Apparently Cafe Pierrot's bread is *so* delicious that it converted my carbivore of a father into a MULTIGRAIN-EATING MACHINE because, as I began to prep my ingredients, I returned to the basket to find THREE measly scraps remaining in the bag.
Fortunately, because of my family's GENERAL aversion to health foods, I had an entire loaf of store-bought multigrain bread as back-up.
STEVE THE SOUP SABOTEUR STRIKES AGAIN.
Never assume. It makes an ASS out of U and ME.
(And causes bread dilemmas.)
The word 'ribollita' means 're-boiled' in Italian, referring to the beans' second hop into the pot at the end of the recipe. I used canned beans rather than boiling them fresh at the start of the recipe in remaining faithful to the peasant theme.
Also, as Socrates once declared:
Before initiating the vegetable chopping sequence, drain & rinse your beans of any can residue and let them soak in a bowl of lukewarm water. This will make it easier to mush later on in the process.
Prepare a large 'garbage bowl' in which to discard the odds and ends of your ingredients. Garbage bowls are another great hack that I picked up during my time with Martha that makes clean-up so very simple.
This recipe filled four happy bellies with plenty leftover, so it's safe to say that it yields enough for 6-8 people.
Don't forget to serve your ribollita with parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil on top, and more delicious bread for mopping.
*Those purple words are helpful links if you are unfamiliar with these cuts. You're welcome.
NAMASTE DWEEBS & MAY YOUR BREAD BAgs ALWAYS BE FULl.
While cooking my ribollita, I listened to the "Sultry Sirens" playlist on Songza to accompany my nostalgia for a large bottle of Chianti.
Here are a few brain beans that sprouted a result during my meatless meditation:
ANALYZE & DISCUSS:
IS ANYONE ELSE TERRIFIED WITHOUT FAIL EVERY THE one ANGRY FUGEE STARTS YELLING AT THE END OF 'KILLING ME SOFTLY'?
DOES BEING A FOOD BLOGGER MAKE YOU A FLOGGER?