Posts Tagged ‘pancetta’

On our trip to Spasso, I became obsessed with their Ribollita soup. It was, in fact my favorite part of the meal (although John was a huge fan of the gnocchi). I don’t think I was ever more intrigued by a soup. A simple blend of white beans, kale, melty shreds of parmesan cheese and the lightest of tomato broths with….what was that flavor in there?….PANCETTA! Seriously, people, it makes everything betta. Yeah, I said it.

Naturally, I wanted to recreate this for myself in the Laboratorio Semi Moderno (my kitchen).

I dutifully embarked on a little recon mission – scouring the internets and reviewing Ribollita recipes. Which there are a lot of – woooo boy. Anyway, I found two favorites: one from 101 Cookbooks, and one from Epicurious. I did a little blend-a-roo between these two versions and created my own Frankenstein’s monster of a soup, which I now have a heck of a lot of and have been eating every day. Consider halving this recipe if you don’t want a bathtub-full of this stuff (but leave the pancetta amount as is):


What You Need:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-ounce / 400 ml can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound / 16 ounces Tuscan kale, stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped
2 cans white beans (cannellini beans)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
4 ounces pancetta or ham, chopped (optional if you want to keep it veggie)
3 cups chicken broth (you can use veggie broth) and 3-4 cups water
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Grated parmesan

Crusty, stale bread (like a baguette), cut into cubes and toasted. Kinda like croutons.

What To Do:
Get out your most huuuuuge-mongous pot and heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Then, If you’re using the pancetta (pleeeeease use the pancetta. Unless you’re a vegetarian. And then it’s OK not to), throw the meat into the pot, and let it toast in there for about 4 minutes (stirring).

Add in the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and onion. Cook these veggies slowly for 10 -15 minutes, but don’t allow them to turn brown. Stir in the tomatoes and cayenne pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken slightly. Stir in the kale, the beans, the 3 cups of chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if you are keeping it vegetarian) and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.

Cook 20 – 30 minutes, then stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed.

Before serving, stir in a healthy amount of grated parmesan cheese and top with the toasted bread cubes (I like saying that better than “croutons”). You can even top with a dollop of ricotta cheese like they did at Spasso. I liked that very much, but if you read this blog you know how much I love ricotta.

Why don’t you make some this weekend?

Note: You can cool and refrigerate this soup, but if you do, please DON’T add the parm or the bread cubes until you’ve reheated it and are ready to serve.

Makes a large pot of soup – enough for 10 servings.


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It’s Pizza Friday once again! I’m sure many of you were leery about those sprouts on Monday. Admit it, you were. WELL, my faithful readers, put those doubts aside, because this pizza is fan-freakin’-tastic. It’s got the crispy, vegetable French fries (sprouts), the ever-glorious pancetta, and parmesan cheese.

As an added bonus, our friends at Astor Wines have provided wine recommendations to pair with this pizza. So, on our way we go:

First, a note: pancetta is salty. And you have already salted your sprouts when you roasted them, so I would advise in this one case NOT to salt your pizza before popping it in the oven. Unless you like a little sodium overload.

What You Need:

Pizza dough made or bought

Roasted sprouts (recipe here)

1/4 lb thickly sliced pancetta

Olive oil

Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese

What To Do:

Fire up that oven (complete with pizza stone if you are using one) to 500 degrees.

Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a circular-ish shape. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Set aside.

Heat a teeny amount (1 tbsp) of olive oil in a pan on the stove top. Place your slices of pancetta in there and let them brown on both sides. Not too brown, don’t fry them to a burnt crisp like bacon or anything. They should still be juicy and just starting to brown. Like toast. Meat toast. Got it?

Place your meat toast (pancetta) on the pizza dough, spacing them evenly on the dough. Arrange your sprouts nicely on top of the pancetta. Then take a knife (or if you have one of those fancy cheese cutters that makes nice curls, use that thingy) and slice some very thin strips of Parmesan. Place those on there as well.

Pop that bad boy in the oven for about 10 minutes or there-abouts. When it’s toasted to your liking (the edges of the dough should be browning, topping should be a-bubbling), remove it from the oven and grate a little extra Parmesan cheese on top.

Serve! With these:

1. Pettirosso, Punta Crena NV (22940): A lovely sparking rose from Liguria that delicious on its own, but would pair nicely. It’s has the slightest hint of sweetness (slight is even being generous) that will contrast the salty pancetta and parm and it ends with a touch of bitter cherry pit that mimics the bitter end of the Brussels. It also has a touch of tannins on the end that the pizza will soften.

2. Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Fattoria il Palagio 2008 (21685): This is a rich white wine that blends earthy and lemon-y flavors that are complex yet totally approachable. By roasting the Brussels this brings out an earthier flavor, this wine will play with those flavors. The wines acidity will cut through the “fatty” pancetta and Parm.

I think that Rosé is calling my name. Can you hear it? Elaaaaaaaaaanaaaaaaaa…..Or is that just the wind?

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