I’ve recently learned how to bake sourdough bread. It’s been so fun to experiment and see the promising results. I’ve realized it takes a long time to make a good loaf of sourdough bread, but the results are so much better than baking with instant yeast instead of a sourdough starter. The aroma, the taste and texture are all better and, because of the slow fermentation and alive bacteria in your starter, your final loaf will be much easier to digest.
Anyways, since I’ve been baking so much lately, we’ve accumulated little bits of end parts of loaves that sadly (but not sadly) end drying up before we get to eat them as fresh toast in the morning.
When you know where a food comes from and how it was made (the time and work involved) you definitely look at it with a more sensitive lense. And you most likely are not willing to waste it.
If it takes me up to 36 hours to make a loaf of bread, I’d feel sorry about throwing away even just a little part of it. With that said, no bread is wated in this house. So I’ve collected in the last couple weeks the dried leftover parts to use later on.
There are so many traditional recipes that use up stale bread, especially the typical “peasant” or poor man’s dishes from our grandparents’ kitchens.
To name a few from Italy, there’s the Panzanella, or Pappa al Pomodoro, or even stale bread cakes and breadcrumbs, and of course the RIBOLLITA.
Ribollita is a typical dish from Tuscany, and it literally means “Reboiled”. There are many variations, just like any traditional dish, but the main reaccuring ingredients are stale bread, kale and cannellini or white beans. This was and still is a very nutritious, filling and economic dish that is great to have as leftovers (after all, it is called Reboiled).
Here is my version of this very healthy and comforting dish 🙂
400 grams dry Cannellini beans
2 big bunches of Kale or Chards or other leafy greens, chopped
300 grams of stale bread (slices or pieces)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 can of tomatoes
2 potatoes (or other starchy vegetables like squash), chopped
Aromatics (thyme, bay leaves, rosemary)
1 clove of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Start by soaking your beans for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Drain the beans and cover with fresh water, add a couple bay leaves and rosemary twigs, a clove of garlic and some salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1 hour or until your beans are fully cooked. Drain and set aside, but keep the cooking water!
In a big pot, sauté the onion, carrots and celery with a couple tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt.
After 5 minutes add the potatoes and tomato can, keep stirring.
After 10 minutes add your greens and cover with the beans’ cooking water. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with the lid. Cook for 1 hour.
After the hour has passed, take half of your cooked beans and blend them (add some water if necessary), then add both the blended and the rest of your beans to the vegetables. Continue cooking on low for another hour. Stir a couple times to make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom.
Turn the heat off and adjust with salt and pepper.
Get another big pot or bowl ready and start adding the soup and bread alternating layers. Once you’ve added all of it, you may want to add some ladles of hot broth or water, just enough to cover the vegetables and bread.
Cover your pot or bowl and rest for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
When ready to eat, reheat your soup by adding some water (the bread soaks up all the liquid) and serve with a nice drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Below are two videos of the composition of the soup. To see the full video recipe head over to my instagram account and look under the RECIPES stories archive.