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Melissa Palinkas’ stalk, stem and leaf ribollita | Kleenheat Kitchen

Young George executive chef and co-owner, Melissa Palinkas, has been praised by food reviewers for her ‘inventive, fun, smart and original’ food. And there’s good reason: her ‘zero waste’ approach means every part of her ingredients adds flavour.

Try out her Ribollita recipe which puts this approach into a delicious, hearty and healthy dish. Ribollita is a traditional Tuscan dish, described as a ‘bread soup’, very similar to Minestrone. As such, it can be prepared and eaten fresh, or frozen for quick and handy go to meals.

Serving: Four
Difficulty level: Easy
Kleenheat sizzle: no chillies, unless you want to add some

  • 500g stalks and stems from cauliflower, broccoli and kale (set aside the kale leaves), roughly chopped
  • 500g old bread, torn and air dried
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 200ml good quality olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • ½ bunch of the kale leaves set aside earlier, roughly chopped
  • 330g tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 330g tin chunky crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black cracked pepper
  • Parmigiano reggiano

Tip: Parmigiano reggiano is like the champagne of hard granular cheeses. It’s made with precise ingredients, using a precise process in quite a small part of Italy.

Tip: Air dried bread is simply bread that’s been “dried” on a very low setting in the oven for a couple of hours.

  • Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrot in 100ml of olive oil until caramelised.
  • Toss in the stalks, stems, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Throw in the chopped kale leaves and simmer until everything is tender.
  • Add the cannellini beans, season and follow with the torn bread. Mix it all together and ladle into the serving bowls.
  • Drizzle a nice lick of olive oil across the robillita, add a few grinds of black pepper and finish with grated parmigiano reggiano to serve.
Melissa Palinkas’ food waste-fighting tips
  • Freeze leftover prawn shells, roast chicken carcasses and fish frames to use when it’s time to make stock. They’ll keep in the freezer for months, which means you’ll always have delicious homemade stock at hand.
  • Coffee grounds can be added to potted herbs for a boost of nutrients.
Learn more about Melissa Palinkas and her food philosophy and try her pork and plum and saltbush pork tenderloin recipes, also found in our Kleenheat Kitchen.