Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tuscan bread soup (or pre-try-a-tri nutrition boosting dinner)

The dinner before tomorrow's try-a-triathlon, time to do some carb loading nutrition loading!

The first time I had this soup was in 2007 in a small osteria in Volterra, Tuscany. It is called Ribollita and is a common soup made of leftover bread, soup and simple, inexpensive (for the farmers) veggies. The owners had left an entire loaf of stale sfilatino or baguette in the vegetable soup and most of the liquid was absorbed such that it looked like a stew. Or rather, more like a large tray of seasoned veggies and soggy bread. So of course, I had to try it.

Let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS. The tomatoes were sweet and flavourful, zucchinis still holding their crunch, and the bread had soaked up all the delicious herbs and vegetable juices. Coupled with the beautiful hilltop view of the sunset, it made for a perfect, peaceful evening. And because I had a huge loaf of stale bread sitting around (and as an added bonus, the bread provides good fuel for the endurance swim tomorrow afternoon :) - this soup had to be made.

Just thinking of that soup and the quiet and pretty town of Volterra makes me all warm and happy and peaceful. Now if only I could hold that peaceful moment in my mind and try to relax and get some quality sleep before tomorrow's big race.


Light olive oil
2 thin, long aubergines/eggplants (the Chinese or Japanese variety), large chop
1 zucchini, large chop

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small onions, 1 red onion, diced
2 cups water (can also use a good white wine, which I thought I had on hand.....)
1 stem of broccoli
1 tbsp tomato paste (or can of crushed tomatoes - omit same volume of water)
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup olives, roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, large chop
1 - 1 1/2 cups of stale bread, large chop

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss eggplants and zucchinis in olive oil and bake for 30 - 35 mins, uncovered. They will get dehydrated and the aromas should start coming out towards the end.

In large soup pot, saute garlic and onions until browned, then add in 2 cups of water or wine. Let boil, then add broccoli, tomato paste, bay leaves, and dried oregano. Turn heat down to medium or medium low and let simmer for 20 - 25 mins.

Add roasted eggplant/zucchini, olives, tomatoes, and stale bread and simmer for an additional 10 mins.

Serve immediately and enjoy!!!!

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