Ribollita, a Classic Tuscan Soup
My friend Annie came to my door yesterday with 'the last of the kale' from the garden. She was ripping everything out to get ready for the spring planting. I love it when inspiration comes knocking at my door, literally. It has been so cold and damp here, I am chilled to the bone! It seems like a good time to make some soup and this traditional potage from Tuscany is just the ticket! Full of cannellini beans, winter veggies, bread and of course, kale. It is best served the next day after it has been re-boiled (ribollita means re-boiled). So get cooking and mangia everyone!
*1/2 lb cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (alternately you can use 2 cans of white beans)
2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 lg cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chunked
1/2 lb kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb chard, coarsely chopped
2 c pureed tomatoes
3 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 - 4 c stock, veggie or chicken, added to the bean cooking liquid to make 10 cups (if you are using canned beans, you will need 10 c stock )
rustic bread for slicing
parmesan for grating (I put a 'heel' of parmesan in the soup too! I always save the outer edge of the parmesan, the heel, to add to soups)
Sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 2 T olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat until soft but not browned. Add the potatoes, kale and chard and sauté for 5 minutes more until the greens soften and cook down. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper then add 1/2 of the cooked beans. Mash the other half of the beans or process in a food processor and then add to the pot, this adds a creamy element to the soup. Add the broth to the veggies and cook, stirring occasionally until all of the vegetables are soft, about an hour or so. You can eat the soup at this point but it is so much better re-heated the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld.
Slice a chunk of the rustic bread (La Brea sourdough is what I used) and place in a wide soup bowl. Ladle the soup over, drizzle with some good olive oil and shave some parmesan on top. YUM!
*Put the beans in a stock pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then simmer the beans for 45 minutes. Add 1 T salt and then continue to cook for 15 minutes more until done. Drain the beans, saving the cooking liquid. Add veggie or chicken stock to the bean broth to make 10 cups.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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