It looked delicious in the photo in the recipe book. The chunks of bread, firm and crusty sitting amongst the dark green of the kale and deep red of the rich looking tomato sauce. And here and there pale creamy cannelloni beans poke through the sauce. The rustic ribollita has been photographed on a suitably rustic looking plate, and there is a small tumbler of red wine by the side of it.
This was a dish that I had to make. It would provide a welcome change from the vegetable curry that I had grown fond of over the past three months.
A quick trip to Waitrose to get the ingredients and a brief wait for my bread to bake in the oven, and we were ready to go.
Perhaps it was the bread, too fresh and still piping hot from the oven. Maybe it was the substitution of chopped shallots instead of chopped onions, but when I compared my effort with the photograph in the book there was little to tell that this as the same dish.
The bread that had to be soaked in vegetable stock to make it soft had fallen apart and was now part of the tomato sauce. The sauce was a paler red and not the intense red of the photo.
It was hard to tell what had gone into my recipe whereas in the picture you could clearly see all the main elements.
I will try it again. Perhaps less stock and bread that is a day old. Better quality tinned tomatoes, and onions and not shallots, might improve the look.
It was delicious though. I made enough for two, so I will finish it off tonight, and it is meant to improve if you keep it overnight. As they say, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’