Traditionally this soup is called Ribolita – and is thickened with bread. Because the little dude was eating with us as well and he can’t tolerate gluten I added a finely chopped potato which broke down over the cooking process to thicken it. I also sexed it up by finishing it with crème fraiche and bacon – neither of which are particularly Tuscan. It’s green, it’s healthy and it’s delicious – perfect for a soul coddling after work dinner.
Finely chop 2 rashers of streaky bacon (they should look like little match sticks), fry these in two tablespoons of good olive oil until crispy and then remove from the oil (these are the garnish). In the hot olive oil fry about 500g of roughly chopped calvolo nero on a high heat (if the stalks are especially stalky remove these). Don’t worry if it burns a tad or gets dark – this is good – it should have an extremely heady roasty, earthy aroma. Turn the pot down and add 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 finely chopped white onion. After the onions have turned translucent add 500mls of vegetable stock or water and 1 finely diced small floury potato. Simmer for 30 minutes until the potato starts to break down. Add one 400g can of cannellini beans.
Divide in half and blend one half into a thick creamy consistency. Combine with unblended half and bring to a simmer again. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Warm bacon bits from before in microwave or oven.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with a spoon of crème fraiche and the bacon bits on top; likewise this could be garnished with parmigiano or pecorino cheese, anchovies or fresh herbs.