Ribollita, a Rustic Italian Soup
In September, my husband and I went to Italy and one night in Florence we had a disastrous time time finding a restaurant that was open. It was our own fault, we'd fallen asleep for a long nap and woke up too late for there to be any reservations left at the good restaurants around us.
We felt sorry for ourselves as we went into one of the tourist trap cafes next to the Duomo di Firenze. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but the food in Italy is really second to none and I wanted every meal there to be SO SPECIAL. So, we sat down to what I assumed would be a sub-par meal. My husband's pizza did end up being pretty dire, but my ribollita was the stuff of dreams. Warm. Rich. Smooth tomato flavor. Just crusty enough bread.
I keep trying to recreate it!
Over Christmas break, I made ribollita for my family, and it was a huge hit. Okay, it's not the most beautiful soup ever, but it's simplicity and hearty taste will win you over.
Ribollita means re-boiled. You can make it with whatever vegetables you have, but it always has some combination of stale bread, white beans, and a vegetable mix. I've used carrots, onions, kale, and spinach in this soup, but you could also use chard or cabbage.
Makes 6 servings | Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small (or 1 large) yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can cannelloni beans
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups chopped kale
2 cups, packed, baby spinach
2 stale (or crusty), torn bread
salt & pepper, to taste
Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.
Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and let saute for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir constantly till it is incorporated.
Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Then add the beans, herbs, bay leaf, and vegetable stock and stir to combine. Then add the kale and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the spinach and torn bread and let simmer for another two minutes.