Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trip to Tuscany

Let's all take a deep breath, forget about the stresses of life and take a quick trip to Italy, where olive trees abound and rustic food is king.

Also, let's go to Italy because they probably invented combining kale and Parmesan cheese!

In Italian cooking, it's not always bing bang boom to get the complex flavors you want. Sometimes that picture you have of Nonna standing over the stove all day to make something incredibly delicious is a picture of what it takes to make some great flavors.

Sure I love throw-together meals as much as you, but it's nice to be proud to create something that takes a little time. And with this recipe, I'm not really talking about sweating over your stove for half a day, just a few hours to let the simple, warm flavors of this veggie-laden soup come through.

First, you start by making a fabulous vegetable stock with whatever veggie scraps you have laying around from the past week (such as carrot tops and ends, kale stems, onion skins, potato peels and some fresh garlic) add some salt and throw in a Parmesan rind and bubble it all away for a few hours until the stock takes on some color and flavor.

You will begin to smell what a few hours of simmering will add to your soup...especially when there's cheese involved.

Then, you bring everything together by simply sauteing some onion, celery, carrot, rosemary and garlic, add in tomato paste, white beans, kale and your veggie stock and simmer for a little bit longer to let the flavors marry.

After that, you'll be left with comforting bowls of soup that are full of vegetables and a broth bursting with flavor that prepare you to take on the chill of fall and winter.

And that's ribollita!

(P.S. If you would rather skip the making the stock part and make it with the soup, you can use this recipe.)

*Click on recipe card to enlarge and save.

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