Store bunched greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
Blanch pre-washed (and chopped, if desired) greens in boiling water for 1 minute. Plunge into an ice water bath to cool. Drain and wring out as much water as possible. Form into convenient serving-size balls. Wrap balls in plastic wrap and freeze in quart or gallon-size freezer bags.
Fill a large bowl or dishpan with cold water. Add greens and swirl around vigorously. All the dirt and sand will sink to the bottom. Lift greens out of basin and into a salad spinner or colander. Spin greens to dry or drain as best you can and dry on towels.
Ribollita means “twice-boiled” in Italian because it’s baked in the oven and served the day after it’s made. It can also be served the day it is made.
- 1 lb. canellini or barlotti beans
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4-5 sage leaves
- a few black peppercorns
- Salt & pepper
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, thickly sliced
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 potatoes, peeled & cut in chunks
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale
- 1/2 small Savoy cabbage, chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
- 1 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 loaf stale coarse country bread
If the beans are dried soak them overnight and drain before proceeding. If fresh (or fresh frozen) simply add to heavy pot with 2 quarts water, 2 Tbsp oil, garlic, sage and peppercorns, cover and simmer on low until the beans are soft (1-2 hours). Season with salt 3/4 of the way through cooking.
Remove half the beans and puree in a food mill or use an immersion blender in their cooking liquid. Reserve the whole beans.
Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a heavy pot and cook onions on low until soft and translucent. Add carrots, celery, potatoes and greens. Stir and add the tomatoes, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Stir in the pureed beans and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Break the bread into pieces and add to the soup, along with the reserved whole beans. Simmer until the bread softens then allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
The next day preheat the oven to 375 and bake the soup in a heat-proof casserole, stirring occasionally until heated through, about 45 minutes. Don’t stir for the last 15 minutes to allow a light crust to form. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Grate a little Parmigiano on top, if you like.
- 1 pound dry white cannellini or lima beans
- 1 large yellow onion or 1 bunch leeks
- 1 head garlic
- 4 Tbsp good quality olive oil
- 2-4 bunches of black Tuscan kale or 2 heads escarole
- 2 quarts chicken stock or water (plus more water)
- 4 oz pancetta or bacon or sausage meat (optional)
- a few plum tomatoes (optional)
- 2 sprigs of rosemary or sage
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
This delicious soup of creamy beans and earthy greens is sure to take the chill out of those rainy fall evenings. Soak the beans in ample water overnight. Coarsely chop the onion and garlic. If using leeks, be sure to thoroughly wash them first by cutting a vertical slash the length of the shank and running water in between all the layers. If using bacon, cut it into ¼ inch dice. In a large, heavy bottomed soup pot (4 quart size or larger), brown the bacon or sausage meat over high heat in the olive oil. (It is also perfectly good without the meat.) Add the onions and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and sauté gently until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Throw in some chopped tomatoes if you want. Add the beans, mix thoroughly, and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock or water, plus additional water to bring it about an inch above the level of the beans. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, wash and chop the greens, removing the midrib from the kale if desired. Taste the beans at this point, if they’re almost ready, add the chopped greens and continue to simmer about a half an hour more. When done, add the salt, at least 1 heaping tablespoonful, and the pepper. For maximum warming effect, serve over steaming hot polenta with a glass of red wine.
This is a simple soup eaten daily in Portugal in infinite versions. There seems to be a Cape Cod Portuguese-American version as that contains beans and a different type of sausage, linguiça. Either way, the combination of rich potato broth, deep hearty greens and salty pork is perfect for those cold rainy fall nights.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1" chunks
- 6 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1-2 bunches kale, collards, or 1/2 savoy cabbage
- Thin slices or small chunks of dry sausage such as chorizo or sopressata (optional)
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes or until potatoes break apart. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, food mill, or some other way. Return to the pan. Wash and remove the tough stems from the kale or collards and stack the leaves on top of one another. Roll them up like a cigar and slice into very fine shreds. (They use a meat grinder-like machine for this at markets in Portugal so you can buy it pre-shredded. It looks kind of like grass clippings.) Add kale to simmering potato broth and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Serve hot in bowls garnished with the sliced sausage and a thread of high quality olive oil.
One of the best cookbooks of 2009 was "The Pleasures of Cooking for One" by Judith Jones. I gave a copy to my mother and enjoyed perusing it during our Christmas visit. Here's one of the recipes that stuck with me.
- 1 frozen ball of greens or 1 fresh bunch (use chard, kale, beet greens, spinach, etc.)
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 2 eggs
- Salt & Pepper
Heat the oil in a small wok or frying pan. Add the greens and saute for 5 minutes, adding a few drops of water if necessary and a pinch of salt. Make two little pockets in the greens and break an egg in each, sprinkling with salt & pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and increase heat to high for 30 seconds to generate some steam. Immediately reduce heat to low and steam for 6-7 minutes or until the eggs are set. Avoid peeking if possible. Serve on toast for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.