Seasons by the Sea: Recipes 1.12.12

Nancy’s Ribollita

    Here is Nancy Greenwald’s recipe for ribollita. Feel free to fool around with it. The amounts of fresh herbs could be too much for some; I find the ratio perfect. It fills the house with a wonderful smell.

    Serves 8 for sure.
2 cans cannelini beans, or soak and use dried beans as directed
1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 bunches Swiss chard or one each chard and kale, center stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 bunch basil leaves, chopped
1 bunch rosemary, left whole
1 bunch thyme, left whole
1/2 cup sage leaves, chopped
4 cups water
3 vegetable bouillon cubes

    Sauté onion in large Dutch oven or stockpot with about three tablespoons olive oil for about 10 minutes, then add carrots and celery and sauté for 10 minutes more. Next add broken-up whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Add layers of beans, chard, kale, basil, and other herbs.
    Pour in four cups water with bouillon cubes. Bring to boil, then lower and simmer for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally. Transfer to another pot and as you go, remove stems from herbs. This soup is even better the next day and the next.

Ina Garten’s Cheddar Corn Chowder

    This version is adapted from “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.”
    Serves 10 to 12.
8 oz. bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onion, about 4 large onions
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium diced white boiling potatoes, about 2 lbs. potatoes
10 cups corn kernels, 10 ears fresh or about 3 lbs. frozen. (I buy the frozen white corn in winter, it’s not bad!)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 lb. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

    In large stockpot over medium high heat cook bacon with oil until bacon is crisp. Remove and drain bacon. Add onions and butter to fat and cook 10 minutes till onions are translucent.
    Stir in flour, salt and pepper, and turmeric. Cook three minutes. Add stock and potatoes, bring to boil, simmer uncovered 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add corn to soup (Ina recommends parboiling ears of corn in salted water, I think this is unnecessary), then half-and-half, then cheddar. Cook five more minutes until cheese is melted. Garnish with bacon.