In the Kitchen.
Internet sensation Laura Vitale shows us how to make her Vegetable Pasta al Forno & Crispy Ribollita!
Vegetable Pasta al Forno
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Salt and ground white pepper
VEGGIE MIXTURE (OR SUBSTITUTE 6 CUPS COOKED VEGETABLES):
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
For the bechamel: In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the flour and stir until it is incorporated in the butter. Cook, whisking constantly, until there are no lumps, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, whisking often, and cook the mixture until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with the nutmeg, salt and white pepper to taste and set aside.
For the veggie mixture: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and allow it to get nice and hot. Add the pepper, zucchini and onion and cook until they have softened and developed some color, 4 to 5 minutes; remove to a plate.
Add a touch more oil (if needed) and allow it to get hot, and then add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they have cooked down, 4 or 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic along with the partially-cooked pepper, zucchini and onion. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and set the mixture aside.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
One 3-inch rind Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups shredded Savoy cabbage
3 cups roughly chopped kale
4 cups stale Italian bread cubes (crust removed; 1-inch pieces)
Light olive oil, for shallow frying
7 ounces burrata cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound San Daniele prosciutto, sliced paper-thin (but not see-through nor shredded)
Pour the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and allow it to heat up just a bit. Add the butternut squash, carrots, celery and onions and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until they develop some color and cook down a bit, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, tomatoes, Parmigiano rind and 3 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the Parmigiano rind. Add the cabbage and kale and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust to taste. Add the bread and press it into the broth to absorb. Simmer for 5 more minutes. If the bread still seems dry, add the remaining cup stock (it should have the look of bread pudding).
Cool the ribollita to room temperature before placing it in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Add 2 tablespoons light oil to the bottom of a 10-inch nonstick skillet and preheat it over medium-high heat until hot. Using two spoons, spoon 1 1/2 to 2 cups ribollita into the skillet to cover the bottom. Flatten it a bit and let it cook until both sides are deeply golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. (Don’t worry if the ribollita breaks as you are flipping it with your spatula; just continue to cook until browned on both sides.) Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining ribollita in the same manner.
For serving: Add the crispy ribollita to a platter. Top with the burrata, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper. Cut into wedges and serve the prosciutto alongside.