Tuscan bean stew (ribollita)

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From the ‘cucina povera’ tradition, this filling dish uses hardy vegetables and beans to make a cheap, delicious meal. This mountain food is just as good whether you’re watching the sun set over some rugged Italian hills or just sitting on the sofa.

Serves 2 – 3

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, diced
1 carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
Small handful parsley stalks, roughly chopped
1 can cannellini beans in water, drained
1 can diced tinned tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
200g cavolo nero or curly kale, sliced
20g unsalted butter (optional)
2 slices toasted, buttered sourdough
Chopped parsley, to serve

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a low heat and gently fry the onions and carrot for 15 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and the parsley stalks in the last 5 minutes to ensure they don’t burn.

Stir in the cannellini beans so they’re nicely coated in oil and then pour the tomatoes and vegetable stock into the pan.

Turn the heat to medium, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer gently for around 40 minutes. Season well with salt and black pepper.

Throw in the cavolo nero and cook the stew for another 5-10 minutes until the kale is cooked but still retains a little firmness. If using, take off the heat and stir the butter into the sauce.

Put the toasted bread in the bottom of two bowls, ladle the stew on top and finish with some parsley.

Image via Flickr