Welcome to 30 Days, 30 Ways to Green, where we're sharing all the little (and not so little!) things we do to live eco-friendlier every day. Stick with us all month long for a lineup of handy tips—from composting do's and don'ts to which reusable products really light up our lives.
Ever since my sister-in-law Heather spent a semester in Florence, ribollita—the traditional Tuscan vegetable soup thickened with stale bread—has been one of her go-to dishes. She taught herself how to make it almost immediately upon returning to New York, and for good reason. Hearty and comforting, ribollita couldn’t be simpler to make, and a big batch stretches through the week for one or two people on a tight budget. It epitomizes cucina povera, the barebones cooking style common to rural Italy that makes use of every last crumb or stalk in the cupboard or crisper.
Of course, ribollita is only one of the many ways stale bread is put to good use around the world. Bread pudding is another one—the staler the bread, the better to soak up all of that custardy deliciousness. Panade is yet another. But in the spirit of Heather—and, okay, because I want to make her ribollita this week—here are a handful of Italian-inspired recipes that not only celebrate stale bread (of which I have lots right now) but also resourceful cooking, and eating well, too.