Ribollita (Serves 6)

Soup and bread. Nothing is simpler and more satisfying. I had my first bowl of this real Italian peasant soup in Florence: a hearty Tuscan stew-like soup filled with vegetables, beans and bread.Now when I make soup at home, this is the one. There’s nothing like it to warm your bones on a cold winter’s day, plus it’s a great way to use leftover bread.

Ingredients

¼ cup pancetta (or bacon), diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small potatoes, peeled and diced

3 carrots, diced

3 celery sticks, diced

1 bulb fennel, sliced

1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 bay leaf

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes

2 cups stale sourdough bread, torn into chunks

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups kale, ribs cut out and finely sliced

1 can (400g) cannellini beans

salt and pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan

olive oil, for drizzling

Method

Dry fry the pancetta in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring until crispy.

Remove from the pot and set aside.

Add oil and cook the onions over medium heat until translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the pancetta, potato, carrot, celery and fennel and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, chilli flakes, bread chunks and chicken stock and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the kale and beans and adjust the seasoning. Stir well and cook on low for a few minutes to heat through.

If necessary, add a bit of water to adjust the thickness of the soup.

To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.

TIP

To make this soup vegetarian, you can leave out the pancetta and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.