Ribollita is considered a peasant dish. It's a vegetable soup that has its origins in Tuscany. It is delicious when made the first day, but becomes Ribollita on the second day, when, as its name implies is re-boiled with toasted bread added to thicken the soup. Because it is denser than most soups, you could even serve it with a fork. I love this dish because it's healthy, comforting and perfect for serving a crowd.
Now that the temperatures are dropping this is the kind of thing that just feels right to make. Although I admittedly I have served this in the warmer months. In fact over the summer this was something I made for a group of twelve lovely women. Every week this group of ladies ranging from twenty somethings to fifty somethings grace my home for a shared meal and study in God's word. Honestly, for me the time spent with these beautiful women are treasured almost sacred moments.
I look forward to these Wednesday evenings together, and I think they do too. It isn't of course about the food, because it isn't anything fancy, but it is the starting point. The food in its essence is a loving extension of care for the body and even the soul. There is just something about sharing a meal together, of connecting people and the serving of what I've made that brings such joy to my heart. I believe it is in part why I was made.
As a remembrance of our time together this summer I assembled a little book with some of the meals we shared along with a few thoughts from our study. Not every recipe made it in the book, to keep the cost down, but the majority of them did. This was one of the recipes that didn't make it in, but not because it wasn't worthy. So to ease my conscience here is a little shout out to Ribollita! I hope you might make this and are able to enjoy it with many around your table as well.-s
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small celery root, peeled, medium dice
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 zucchini, coarsely, chopped
1- 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 bunch Tuscan kale, tough center stalks removed, leaves cut into thick strips
1/2 head savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 package baby spinach
3-inch Parmesan rind (optional)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 slices day-old country-style bread, toasted
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm 1/2 cup oil. Add the carrots, celery root, onions, potatoes, and zucchini and sauté until the vegetables are softened, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and 4 cups stock, then add the kale, cabbage, spinach and Parmesan rind. Raise the heat to high, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and let cook until the greens are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove the Parmesan rind and discard. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 2 quart baking dish with the toasted bread slices and ladle the soup over the top. Bake, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon so that the bread slices break apart and blend with the soup, 20-25 minutes. Continue baking without stirring until a lightly browned crust forms on top of the soup, 5-10 minutes longer.
Season generously with oil and freshly ground black pepper and serve.