One of our absolute favorites is soup that we learned about in Tuscany, known as Ribollita. This is a traditional peasant dish that is generally made up of beans, tomatoes, and whatever is in the garden, and some stale bread. It is delicous, filling, and very healthy. I love making this. This recipe is made up of a combination of ones I have found online, with a few personal touches (especially adding more and more garlic!)
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 30 oz. cannellini beans (soaked or canned is fine)
- 1 decent sized leek, sliced (only include the white and light green parts)
- 1/2 head of garlic (or more! garlic is good!)
- 1 cup zuccini, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 2 cups, red potatoes, diced
- 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 large bunch of Kale, cleaned and chopped
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- olive oil
- pepper (fresh ground)
- pinch of celery seed
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of thyme
- small amount of crushed red pepper
- half a loaf of stale Italian bread, cut into small chunks. (if you have no stale, you can cut it up and heat in in the oven for 20 minutes. but it holds together better if it is hard)
- Grated Pecorino cheese (or Romano, or Parmesan).
Start off by cutting everything up. I prefer to do it by groupings of items that are added simultaneously (you can put the carrots, zucchini, and celery together, as they all go in at the same time). Take about half of the cannellini beans and mash them into a paste. Set this aside, with the diced tomatoes (try to keep all of the juice from these with them). put the rest of unmashed beans aside as well.
In a large soup pot, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sautée the leeks and the garlic until you can see through them a little bit. Add the carrots, zucchini, and celery, stir in a little bit of salt and pepper, and cook on a medium low heat for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Stir in the cabbage and the Kale, cover and cook until the Kale has wilted (about 5 minutes).
At this point, add the mashed bean paste, the tomatoes, the rest of the beans, the potatoes, the vegetable stock, the water, a pinch of thyme, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then add the celery seed, and the red pepper. Season with more salt and pepper Cover, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. At this point, add the bread, cover again and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and add whatever seasonings you feel best suits it. Serve with grated Pecorino cheese.