And, just like that, autumn is here. Gone are the picnics, jumpers for goalposts and barbecues. Now is a time to settle in for one-pot cooking, to allow more time to watch Bake Off, BBC dramas and squirrels pottering about. If I had to pick a dish to represent autumn, it would be ribollita. An unsung hero of a dish, made up of equal parts of cupboard and seasonal ingredients that come together to create not just a beautiful bean, tomato and bread soup, but also a feeling that autumn is here and everything is going to be all right.
Ribollita with celeriac and kale
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr
5 tbsp good olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 large red onion (or 2 small), peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 carrots (200g), peeled and finely diced
½ celeriac (400g), peeled and finely diced
1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
200g kale, tough stalks discarded, the rest shredded into thin ribbons
½ ciabatta loaf, torn into pieces
1¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. When hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot and celeriac, and cook gently for about 20 minutes, until very soft and sweet.
Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the pan with one hand and crush with the other (clean) hand, to break them up before they hit the pan. Half-fill the empty tin with water and pour into the pan (keep the tin to one side), stir to mix and cook for 10 minutes, until reduced and a couple of shades darker.
Stir in the drained beans, then add the shredded kale, salt, pepper, three more full tins of water and the bread, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low, half cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, until the kale is tender.
Season again to taste, ladle into bowls, drizzle with plenty of good olive oil and serve.