Country Vegetable Soup/La Ribollita
From ‘The Glorious Soups & Stews of Italy’ by Domenica Marchetti.
‘This Tuscan specialty is two soups in one, a colourful, chunky vegetable soup, and when reheated with bread added to the mix, a classic peasant dish known as ‘La Ribollita”.
For the beans:
250g dried white beans suchas as cannellini, sokaed overnight in water to cover
1 onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed with the flat side of a knife blade
3 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
For the soup:
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (about 250g)
250g kale (red russian, curly or cavalo nero)
200g beet greens (chard or spinach)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
For the ribollita:
6 slices crusty white bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 to 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Extra best quality oil to serve
To make the beans:
Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, parsley and water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Skim off any foam that develops. Reducet he heat as needed to simmer and cook, uncovered for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Add salt to taste during the last 10 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 mins.
Remove the onion, garlic and parsley. In a blender puree half of the beans with some of the cooking liquid.
For the soup:
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute until veg have begun to soften. Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, kale and green and stir to combine well. Stir in the pureed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the greens have begun to wilt and soften.
Add the whole and pureed beans along with any remaining cooking liquid. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 mins or until the veg are completely tender and the soup has thickened. Add water if it seems too thick. Serve with grated parmesan, or cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To make ‘la ribollita’:
Heat the oven to 180c. Arrange the bread slices onto a baking tray and toast lightly in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Allow to cool.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat 1-2 tbsp oil. Tear up 2 slices of the bread and place them in the bottom of the pan. Ladle 1/3 of the soup over the bread. Repeat this twice, finishing with a layer of the soup. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer, stirring gently from time to time until heated through. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Ladle the ribollita into shallow bowls and drizzle each with best quality olive oil, or top with grated parmesan.