When I was a kid, we called dumplings, “Pot Stickers,” but I guess now we have adjusted to calling all Asian noodle wrapped parcels either boiled, steamed or fried as dumplings. We tend to stick to the pork and chive or green onion …
Clearly the translation will not sound appealing, as Ribollita means reboiled. Who would like a bowl of reboiled for dinner? Doesn’t sound quite as appealing when translated. Even better, the consistency of this “soup” is thicker and well, more mushy than soup, so who would like a bowl of reboiled mush for dinner?
If you’ve been to Tuscany, you may have had this dish as it is one of the regional specialties. Traditionally, Ribollita contains dark kale (cavolo nero), leftover bread, beans and vegetables. I first tried Ribollita in Siena, Italy. I spotted it in the ready made section of a deli, packed in a rectangular plastic take away box, not typical soup packaging. I was willing to eat it cold, but thankfully the shop owner heated it up in the microwave, popped the lid off, drizzled olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan on top. I loved the thick garlicky richness of the creamy white beans mixed with the greens and vegetables.
Upon my return to the US, I turned to Lidia Bastianich for inspiration. I continue with her tricks for smashing garlic cloves and leaving them whole, adding a Parmesan heel to the soup and serving with a drizzle of olive oil. Instead of Cavolo Nero, I use chard, which is plenty hard to find in Hong Kong. I use canned beans since I was never able to get dried beans to soften while soaking overnight. My secret for Ribollita is not stale bread, but rather garlic rubbed toasted baguette. When making the garlic rubbed toasts, I have to make a double batch as Shane eats half of them before I have a chance to add them to the soup.
As I understand it, Al Pastor refers to the method of cooking sliced pork topped with fresh pineapple in a vertical roasting style similar to shawarma, however, we are accustomed to referring to anything marinated with chiles, spices and pineapple as Al Pastor. Pork …
While cooking Indian food for dinner, I realized that the Chana Masala (garbanzos) already contained many of the same spices required for Bainghan Bharta, (Indian roasted eggplant) such as tomato, turmeric, garam masala and dried coriander. So, one mushy dish was enough, we certainly didn’t need two mushy dishes with identical flavors. This version was adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Eggplants in a North-South Sauce, as featured on Epicurious.com.