Matt Connors is the chef/owner of The Lake House, a 55-seat pond-front restaurant near his childhood home in Bay Shore. The 15-time marathon runner has been committed to the farm- to-table movement from the early 90s when he developed his expertise in San Francisco, Umbria and Manhattan kitchens. Much of his local and organic produce is grown on a former cow pasture at the bayfront Bayard Cutting Arboretum 14- acre farm, the only community supported agriculture project within the New York State Parks system. This hearty ribollita soup (a Tuscan classic that translates as “reboiled”) is made with leftover bread, rustic vegetables and whatever light-colored beans are on hand. The mise en place
is in a series of quart-size plastic containers filled with diced veggies ready for the pot.
2 cups cannellini (or any white bean), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped roughly
1 cup canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
3 slices day-old, crusty white country bread
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Mash one cup cannellini beans in a bowl with the back of a fork until smooth. Set aside. Add garlic, rosemary, onions, celery, carrot and kale to the olive oil in a cold, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Gently cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add both mashed and whole cannellini beans, chicken stock and tomatoes. Simmer gently for at least one hour. Add bread and simmer until it’s completely dissolved into the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve (preferably the next day), drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and parmesan. Serves four, generously.
TIPS: Use the best possible extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top. Add onions and celery first, so the garlic doesn’t burn. Bring soup to a second boil before serving.