RIBOLLITA (Tuscan white bean stew with kale, for four)

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

salt and ground black pepper

2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans

1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock or water

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 fresh thyme sprig

1 pound chopped kale or escarole

4 large, thick slices whole grain bread, toasted

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan


1.   Put 2 tablespoons oil into a large pot over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

2.   Heat the oven to 500*.  Drain the beans; if they’re canned, rinse them as well.  Add them to the pot along with the tomatoes and their juices, stock, rosemary, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so that the stew bubbles steadily; cover and cook. stirring once or twice to break up the tomatoes, until the flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.

3.  Fish out and discard the rosemary and thyme stems if you like, and stir in the kale.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Lay bread slices on top of the stew so that they cover the top and overlap as little as possible.  Scatter red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

4.   Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.  (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.)  Divide the stew among 4 bowls and serve.

from Mark Bittman, the New York Times

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