This fantastic, economical soup is a great way to use delicious seasonal root veg, leeks and kale as well as stale bread which you otherwise might have throw away. Ribollita literally means ‘reboiled’: traditionally this Italian soup was made in large quantities so it could be reheated on subsequent days. Try using a bag of our very own campus grown sautéed greens in place of the kale.
400g tins cannellini beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 leek, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
400g tin plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
600ml vegetable stock
1 sprig of rosemary and 1 sprig of thyme, tied together with string
200g kale, cavolo nero or Savoy cabbage, tough stalks removed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices of slightly stale countrystyle or sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, halved
3–4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Drain & rinse the beans, then mash or blend half of them with a little cold water.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and gentle fry the onion over a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until softened. Add the carrots, celery and leek and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring. Now add the tomatoes with their juice, the puréed and whole beans, stock, rosemary and thyme, and simmer gently for about 1 hour.
Shred the kale, cavolo nero or cabbage leaves. Add to the soup and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and add some salt and pepper.
To serve, toast the slices of bread until golden, then rub with the garlic and brush with olive oil. Put a slice of bread in the base of each bowl, ladle over the soup and trickle some olive oil on top before serving.
Apple stuffed baby squash
With Halloween just around the corner, it seems that huge bright orange pumpkins are everywhere at the moment. But you can pick up some wonderful crazy looking varieties which are just perfect roasted whole for a hearty winter supper. Here's one of our favourite ways to serve them with a perfect seasonal flavour partner, apple!
2 baby or 1 medium squash, acorn variety works well.
1 large apple
100g bread crumbs
50g dried apricots
25g pine nuts or any nuts
1 tbsp Thyme/rosemary/chives - whatever herbs you have to hand
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5
Careful cut a 'lid' off the top of the squash and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds & fibres, leaving the rest of the flesh inside. You can wash and dry the seeds then roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning for a delicious snack or salad topping.
If need be cut a small slice off the base of each squash so it will stand up on a baking tray without wobbling.
Place the pine nuts on a baking tray and put in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly toasted, be careful not to let them burn. Take out and leave to cool.
Chopped the apricots and place in a bowl with breadcrumbs, we left our apricots quite big so they stay juicy, it up to you. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Roughly chop the pine nuts and add these, then peel the apple and grate it into the bowl.
Zest the lemon and add to the mixture with 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil. Season and mix well. The mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly as the apples will release lots of moisture, add more oil if needed.
Fill the squash cavities with the mixture – they should be about two-thirds full. Tuck a few thyme sprigs into the centre of each. Put the "lids" back on top and stand the squash on a large baking tray – there should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.
Bake for 40–50 minutes – possibly longer if the squash are large – until the flesh feels very tender inside. Serve straight away with a fresh salad or instead of meat on roast dinner.
Works well with any apple varieties, we used up a few sad looking ones past their best for eating!