The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

This is a recipe I de­vel­oped from the clas­sic Ital­ian dish ri­bol­lita – the ul­ti­mate peas­ant food. If mak­ing your own, pre­pare the fo­cac­cia first.


100g onion 125g carrot 250g cel­ery 75ml (¹/³ cup) ex­tra virgin olive oil 8g (1½ tea­spoons) sea salt 4 cloves of garlic 15g (¼ cup) pars­ley leaves 2 x 400g cans of whole plum

toma­toes 100g (½ cup) puy lentils 85g (½ cup) bar­ley or spelt grain 1 litre (4 cups) wa­ter 125g cavolo nero, cut into 5mm


To serve

8 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra virgin olive oil Freshly ground black pep­per Dice onion, carrot and cel­ery into 5mm cubes. Place in a saucepan with the olive oil and salt; gen­tly heat. Cook very slowly, tak­ing care not to colour onions. Chop garlic and pars­ley to­gether to cre­ate a paste and add to saucepan. Cook very slowly, for about 30 min­utes, un­til veg­eta­bles are soft. Mean­while, empty toma­toes into a sieve over the sink and gen­tly rinse sauce from them. Shake dry; cut into 1cm dice.

When veg­eta­bles are cooked, add chopped toma­toes and con­tinue to cook gen­tly for 20 min­utes. Add lentils, bar­ley and wa­ter. Cook gen­tly for about 30 min­utes with a lid on, un­til the bar­ley is plump and soft and the lentils are cooked. If the mix be­gins to run dry, add a lit­tle more wa­ter, but not too much – you want a thick broth. Add cavolo nero and cook gen­tly for an­other 15 min­utes un­til soft, then re­move from heat. Check sea­son­ing and ad­just if nec­es­sary.

Spoon broth into serv­ing bowls and driz­zle gen­er­ously with ex­tra virgin olive oil – the best you can find. Add a lit­tle black pep­per and serve with fo­cac­cia. Serves 4


500g (3½ cups) strong white bread flour (type 00), plus ex­tra to dust

25g (2½ ta­ble­spoons) fine

semolina 10g (2½ tea­spoons) dried yeast 13g (2½ tea­spoons) sea salt 320ml (1¹/³ cups) warm wa­ter 35ml (7 tea­spoons) ex­tra virgin

olive oil, plus ex­tra to grease 40ml (8 tea­spoons) top-qual­ity

ex­tra virgin olive oil 20g (3½ tea­spoons) sea salt flakes Mix flour, semolina, dried yeast and 1½ tea­spoons of salt in a bowl. Add the warm wa­ter and reg­u­lar olive oil and mix to­gether to form a rough dough. Turn out onto a clean work sur­face lightly dusted with flour and knead for 10 min­utes un­til sup­ple. Grease a 17cm x 25cm x 2cm ceramic roast­ing dish with olive oil.

Fold dough over twice to get a smooth top, then roll or press into a rough rec­tan­gle the size of the roast­ing dish. Put dough into the dish and stretch to the edges. Cover with a clean tea towel and place some­where a lit­tle warmer than room tem­per­a­ture for about an hour – it needs to have risen to the top of the tray.

Pre­heat oven to 160°C (fan). Poke your fin­gers into the dough in rows to cre­ate dim­ples, mak­ing sure you touch the bottom of the dish when you poke each hole. Sprin­kle dough with 1 tea­spoon of salt.

Bake for 30-40 min­utes un­til golden and risen. Re­move from the oven and im­me­di­ately driz­zle the top-qual­ity olive oil evenly over the top and sprin­kle with the re­main­ing sea salt flakes. Leave to cool 5 min­utes and then trans­fer to a cool­ing rack and al­low to cool com­pletely. Makes 1 Richard Buck­ley is a Bri­tish chef whose Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath is one of the world’s best plant-fo­cused restau­rants. Edited ex­tract from Plants Taste Better by Richard Buck­ley (Jac­qui Small, $49.99) Pho­tog­ra­phy: Kim Light­body

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