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A Winter Recipe from Laura

Ribollita

Laura kindly opened up her kitchen to us again to share her recipe for Ribollita, a classic and comforting Tuscan bread soup. The word “ribollita” means “reboiled,” and this hearty soup was traditionally made from reheating or reboiling leftover vegetable soup the following day and mixing in stale bread.

As with many Tuscan sauces and soups, it is even more tasty the day after with more depth of flavor.

Ribollita very much falls under the category of la cucina povera (poor man’s kitchen) since it’s based on making the most of what you have or what was readily available – leftover vegetables and stale bread in the case of this warming dish.

Unlike a vegetable soup like Minestrone, Parmigiano is not used for a Ribollita. It’s perfection with extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top and a little cracked black pepper. Freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany is ideal!!

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INGREDIENTS
1 bunch black kale
1/4 head savoy cabbage
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 leek
1 onion
2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 zucchini
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 celery stalks
300 g cannellini beans (dried)
2 peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
Powdered chili pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
250 g stale bread

  1. Soak the dried cannellini beans for about 8 hours. Then boil them in 2 liters of water with a few sage leaves and garlic cloves with the skins on. Remove the sage and garlic cloves once the beans are cooked through and soft. Do not drain the water!!!
  2. Cut the onion and leek into thin slices. Peel and cut up the potatoes into small pieces. Cut up your ¼ head of swiss chard. Remove the stems from the kale and then cut up the leaves into small pieces. Chop up your swiss chard, carrots, celery and the zucchini into small pieces. Ideally the pieces of veggies should be roughly the same size.
  3. Brown the onions and the leeks in a pot with the olive oil. Once browned, add the other vegetables starting with those that require the longer cook time (i.e. potatoes, carrots, zucchini, celery and then the kale, cabbage and chard).
  4. Run ½ of the beans through a metal sieve or hand-crank mixer or blender and then add back to the pot with the rest of the beans and the water.
  5. As the vegetables begin to slowly soften, gradually add in all of the bean mixture with the water to the pot. 
  6. Break apart the 2 peeled tomatoes. Add a little water to the tomato paste and then add the peeled tomatoes and paste to the pot.
  7. Tie up the bunch of thyme with string and then add the bunch to the mixture. A trick from Laura is to tie the end of the string to the handles of the pot so as not to loose the bunch. You do not want the thyme leaves to mix into the soup, they are meant simply to infuse the essence of thyme in the soup.  
  8. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and a small pinch of chili powder and cook the mixture on a low heat for about 2 hours and then remove the bunch of thyme. 
  9. Then add the stale bread (sliced and broken into pieces) a bit at a time. You can use the full 250 grams or a little less if you’d prefer your Ribollita not to be quite as dense and heavy.
  10. Stirring well, bring soup to a low boil and cook for another 30-minutes or so. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  11. Serve the Ribollita with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top and some cracked black pepper. 

BUON APPETITO!

 

 

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