Ribollita is an Italian soup that was traditionally seen as peasant food. The great thing about this soup is that it makes an ideal base for any additional ingredients that you might want to add. Think of it as an opportunity to give a last moment of glory to any miserable veggies left at the bottom of your fridge! I keep leftover Parmesan rinds in my freezer, which I add to sauces and soups like this to give a unique rich flavour. Add a couple while the soup is simmering and simply fish them out before serving.
If I was to name one recipe that is ideal food therapy, it's this. There is something extremely relaxing about rolling the meat into little balls and plopping them into a boiling, rich, tomato sauce. I rely solely on the heat of the sauce to cook and infuse the balls with flavour and I love to serve the dish on a big platter with serving spoons, so that people can dig in at the table.
Angie looked after my dad when he was growing up, and when I first started going to school she used to walk me home and give me lunch, which was regularly Irish stew. Her Irish stew is legendary in the Skehan family, with my dad’s five siblings and my eleven cousins all having been brought up on it. Angie always knew how to feed an army of hungry mouths, so I hope this version of the recipe does hers justice!