A hearty Tuscan soup closer to a stew, Ribollita, meaning "reboiled" makes use of leftover vegetable soup and transforms it into a delicious, comforting bowl of warmth. It's an economical dish with peasant origins that is easy to make.
Ribollita means reboiled when leftover vegetable soup is given a new lease on life being cooked again with chunks of bread added. This version is an all in one job that produces a divine, rustic and comforting soup in one pot. It's distinct peasant roots mean that it is inexpensive to make using beans and vegetables but yet delivers on flavour and comfort.
Tuscan bread is usually unsalted and dense and usually served with charcuterie to give it taste. It won't be easy to find it here so use any bread that you want to thicken it up. I have even used a rye bread that Mr NQN didn't like and he didn't even notice that it was in it. I cannot tell you how wholesome and delicious this is and I found myself craving some after a lot of dinners out with lots of rich food. If you want a taste of why Tuscan food is so well loved and comforting then this is it.
Whenever we have a gathering with the in-laws, I always learn something new about Mr NQN's family. These gatherings are usually a picnic or dinner at Tuulikki's apartment. Everyone brings a plate; I normally bring dessert and the rest is usually vegetarian fare. Tuulikki is the first to proclaim that she loathes cooking so her contribution is something like a lentil stew with lashings of turmeric. It's hearty food for winter.
Sometimes Mr NQN's father Roger will come by. He and Tuulikki are no longer married and he often spends much of his time overseas or besotted with a new hobby. This year it is with an acting class - not because he wants to be an actor but just as a hobby.
That night he turned to Tuulikki. "I've got the marijuana for you," he said to her and she mumbled something and looked embarrassed. "Um what?" I asked - that was the first I'd ever heard about it. It turned out what he was calling marijuana for shock value was hemp protein powder. My father in law is an unusual man, prone to bouts of shock and attention getting behaviour (most of which I can't even write about!!). He lives in an alternate world too - he loves technology but when we gave him a lift home he was taken aback.
"What is that drawing?" he said fascinated.
"Do you mean the GPS Roger?" we answered. Aww bless!
The next time we get together with the Elliotts for the next birthday will be a slightly chillier weather and I will make this soup, a delicious Tuscan stew or soup.
So tell me Dear Reader, when you have family gatherings, do you have them at home or out at a restaurant? And for the next Cook With Me challenge, would you prefer a sweet or savoury dish? Or do you not mind?