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Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Friday, 29 July 2011


Given that this blog is called Luigis tastes of Italy, and im Italian, there have been a great deal of 'foreign' recipes lately, so have
decided to bring the blog back on track and post about one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes.

As well as foreign food, the word peasant has featured heavily on this blog, and unfortunately that is habit I can't yet break, the word peasant is going to feature again on my blog, it seems I can't post an Italian, or indeed any recipe without mentioning the word these days.

I think perhaps secretly I have a craving for the simple life. Who knows.

Regardless of why I keep mentioning them, the peasants are attributable to another beautiful Italian recipe.

It is quite easy to figure the origins of Ribolita, stale bread, simple cabbage, beans, basic roots. All things every home
will have at one time or another, so the comibination was somewhat invevitable.

The real star of this recipe, is undoubtedly Cavolo Nero. Wy we in the UK cant find this easily in markets, or even supermarkets, is beyond me.
It is immeasurably more delicious than any savoy cabbage, and is packed full of character and flavour.

Luckily however fear not, if you live in a reasonably temperate climate, have some kind of soil available to you, then you can most definitely grow Cavolo Nero yourself.

Growing your own, isn't exciting, it's not fun, but if you like fresh ingredients and Italian varieties, then it is sometimes essential.

They're one of the toughest, hardiest, unfussy vegetables I know, this past year they coped with an incredibly dry autumn,  and temperatures of -15C during the first half of winter. And yet here they are in early spring looking remarkably healthy.

Basically the only care they need, is protection from caterpillars in the late summer. Simple.

The recipe itself, is not really worth commenting on, other than to highlight the importance of using a decent bread, perhaps a grain, rather than
just a cheap white loaf. A cheap white loaf will just turn to mush, while something decent will retain texture and flavour.

(serves 4)

7-8 sliced up large leaves of Cavolo Nero
400g can of Cannelini beans
1 potato, peeled roughly diced,
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 stick of celery diced
1 litre of chicken stock
2-3 peeled tomatoes chopped
5-6 thick slices of a decent grain bread (stale is ideal)
Grated parmesan to serve


-In a large pan, gently fry the onions and garlic until translucent.

-Next add the celery and carrot, reduce the heat, and cook for around 15 minutes until everything is a golden colour.

-Next add the diced potato, cavolo nero and tomatoes, increase the heat slightly and cook for a few minutes.

-Next add the chicken stock and half the amount of Cannelini beans and mash them in the pan.

-Cover and gently simmer for around 40 minutes, next add the remaining Cannelini beans.

-Continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes, and then set aside.

-Take your slices of bread, and griddle them until coloured, like you would as if making a bruschetta. After this rub a garlic clove over them and set aside.

-Next take a large casserole type bowl, and add a ladle of the 'soup' followed by a slice or two of the bread, repeat this so you create layers.

-The final part is a waiting game, you can eat this after ten or so minutes, but if you were to allow the flavours to "steep" for a few hours, or overnight (and of course reheat) everything just becomes so much more intense. Enjoy!!


Kim said...

Your ribolita looks packed full of goodness and also very hearty. Cavolo Nero is one of my favorite veggies. I love it in soup, pasta, and just about anything. Take care!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

Perfect peasant food. I love thus kind of thing and unfortunately this dreadful weather is perfect for it just now. Lovely recipe x

Shu Han said...

I actually made this a while back, when it was winter. Although it was simple, it was hearty and delicious (: I also think the simplest things in life are the best and what really matters! cheers.

M.J. said...

Sounds wonderful and I remember my mother in law making something similar..Will have to try yours..Thanks for sharing!

Healthy Mamma said...

How interesting. I will have to look into finding some Cavolo Nero seeds. From what you described I might be succesful growing them here in Phoenix.

I love peasant style meals, so simple, flavorful and full of fresh ingredients. I make a mean Brussels Peasant Stew and Rosemary Artisian bread. mmm

Charlene said...

Wow, this sounds delicious!

Joanne said...

Now this is a hearty soup if ever I've seen one! I love that you use fresh ingredients from your garden, Luigi!

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

wow what a fab dish :-)

Karolina said...

This is one of my favourite soups.

I wonder if you can help me Luigi. I just came back from holiday where I had the most incredible food. One of my favourite ones was coratella, a dish made with finelly chopped young lamb's heart, lungs, and liver. I have found recipe in Google, in English and it says that there should be artichokes there too. Mine did not have them, however I tasted the pepperoncino and probably some bay leaf. Also I think it was stewed in wine, but I m not sure. White or red - no idea! Obviously a good splash of olive oil is needed, some salt and pepper.The secret is chopping - not too fine, not too coarse. Do you have an original Italian recipe for this dish?

Have a good day!

Luigi said...

Karolina, you will find like many Italian recipes there are always variations.

The one I know, or I should say our family use. Is one without the "Carciofo" (Artichoke).

It is very simple to make it is just lambs heart, and lambs liver chopped into small pieces, fresh rosemary, pepperoncino (chilli flakes) bay leaf, all fried together in a generous quantity of olive oil, finished with a squeeze of lemon juice, and after this you "stew" lightly with white wine added (not too much, but enough to act like a sauce).

We sometimes cook Chicken livers in a similar way.

Karolina said...

Molto grazie, Luigi! :) I will try to get hold of young lambs heart and liver and cook it one day. It was delicious, I will write about it on my blog soon. :) Thanks again and take care!

Aleksandra Rybińska said...

Hi Luigi :)
What a perfect dish for our Autumn Summer this year :)
Love your recipe x

Aleksandra :)

Ann Minard said...

I was thinking of making this soon myself.

saket said...

i had read your its content about Italy is awesome.i love your blog.

igloo cooking said...

pero que plato más apetecible, me encanta la ribolita, que ricooo, además me ha gustado muuucho tu blog, me quedo a seguirte! Un beso muy grande,

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Anonymous said...

I also think the simplest things in life are the best and what really matters! cheers

Annalisa said...

Thanks a lot for your kind words on my blog, it is nice to see that you came to read my blog! Looking forward to read something on your blog, too!

Tania said...

A typical Tuscan dish, I love it!
P.S. I'm fine :-)

Velva said...

This looks awesome. Any good leafy food that only requires minimal care is okay with me-

Thanks for sharing.


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