I fell in love with ribollita when I was touring Italy with my family in the summer of 2000, I think. We sat in a rustic restaurant, and even though it was the middle of summer, I was LOVING the soup. Ribollita means re-boiled in Italian. To make it correctly, you cook the soup the day before, then, stack pieces of stale bread in a container– a dutch oven, perhaps– and then dump the soup over it. You store it, refrigerated for a day and then scoop some out and reboil it for dinner. The bread thickens the soup and letting it sit allows the flavors to marry.
This is a quick version, adapted from the one my cousin-in-law recommends from Giada DeLaurentis. The original has boring spinach in it. Instead, I added very thinly sliced green cabbage and dinosaur kale for the delicious cruciferous greens. Also, the original calls for pancetta, but I could only find prosciutto. AND I didn’t add a parmesan rind. It would probably be good– it just turned out that we didn’t have one like I thought we did. I might also add some crushed red pepper next time for a bit of ZING!
This version isn’t vegetarian due to the prosciutto and chicken broth, but I think this recipe would still be very tasty with veggie broth and skipping the meat– though, you might want to add a spot of chipotle powder or liquid smoke.
What you need:
- about a 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 ounces pancetta (or prosciutto), chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bunch dinosaur (aka Tuscan) kale, stripped from the main vein and chopped
- 1/4 of head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan rind (optional)
- some slices of good crusty Italian bread
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
What to do:
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, carrot, pancetta/prosciutto, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onion is golden brown and the pancetta is crisp, about 7 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and stir until dissolved. Add tomatoes and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits.
- Add the cabbage, beans, herbs, stock, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the kale, stir, and simmer for another 15 minutes
- Meanwhile, drizzle the bread slices with olive oil. Toast until golden brown in a toaster over, or you big ole’ oven at about 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub the top of the toasts with a whole garlic clove (if you wish– I might skip this next time.)
- Place the toasts in the serving bowls and ladle the soup over the toasts. Sprinkle with Parmesan or good olive oil and serve immediately.