In Skye's version of this soup she replaces the stale bread with farro. I couldnt find farro anywhere in Brunswick so in my version I replaced the farro with Greenwheat Freekeh. I love trying new grains & this was a first for me. From the back of the box 'Greenwheat Freekeh is 100% Australian grown wheat. Picked and roasted when the grain is green, it retains a higher percentage of protein, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, in particular, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc than mature wheat.
I threw the freekah into the soup with the water & let it bubble away so it was very easy to prepare. The soup was delicious & hearty & the freekah added a lovely texture, almost nutty in it's chewiness though definitely not tough, lovely all around.
Notes - I used canned beans instead of dried & just added them about half an hour before the end of cooking time. I also substituted rainbow chard for cavolo nero as I have some growing out the back. And as mentioned I used freekah instead of farro as I couldn't get my hands on any.
Ribollita - Skye Gyngell's My favourite Ingredients
400g dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight
About 3 litres water
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
small bunch of sage
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
150g farro, well rinsed under cold water
400g can peeled plum tomatoes
bunch of cavolo nero, thick stalks removed, roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan, to serve
Drain the beans and place them in a heavy based saucepan. Pour on about 2 litres water to cover generously and cook over a low heat until the beans are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside.
Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a seperate cooking pot (large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably) over a low heat. Add the onions, chilli and a pinch of salt. Sweat gently until the onions are soft and translucent.
Now add the celery, carrots, garlic, sage, potatoes and farro. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the heat to begin to release the flavours of the vegetables, then add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Stir in the cooked beans, then cover with about 1 litre of water - just enough for a thick brothy base in which the vegetables can cook properly. Add the cavolo nero and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for a further hour until the vegetables are really soft. Add a generous pinch of salt and a few good grindings of pepper.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Let the soup stand for a couple of hours - this will improve the flavour no end.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Turn up the heat to emulsify, then ladle into warm bowls.