This delicious recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook Plenty is a take on the Tuscan ribollita. Somewhere between a soup and a vegetable stew, it is a warming and filling meal in a bowl after which you don’t need much… maybe just a comfy little pillow to rest your head on!
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
- 5 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzle over finished soup
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthways and sliced
- 3 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 14 ounce canned Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp dry
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar (or super fine sugar)
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- salt and black pepper
- 160 grams stale sourdough bread (crust removed) *gluten-free sourdough bread recipe here
- 14 ounces cooked chickpeas
- 4 tablespoon basil pesto (ideally homemade; optional)
- 1 handful shredded fresh basil leaves1
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the onion and fennel in a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
- Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the tomato paste and stir as you cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two.
- Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the herbs, sugar, vegetable stock, and some salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and leave to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
- While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and some salt, and scatter in a roasting pan.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until thoroughly dry. Remove from oven and set aside.
- About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin; you want some to be left whole.
- Add the chickpeas to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls.
- Spoon some pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous amount of freshly shredded basil, if you like.