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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!!

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