Tuscan Ribollita Soup
The old adage “what grows together, goes together” applies aptly to Tuscan cooking. Used in Chianti Classico, the local grape Sangiovese pleases with its bright cherry fruit, high acidity, and fine tannins, and makes a lovely accompaniment to this soup.
Tuscany evokes images of golden hills and manicured vineyards warmed by the sun. That’s because most of us visit during summer. But winter befalls this magical place, too. And when it does, a bowl of Ribollita soup provides warmth on the chilliest of days. Made from cannellini beans, leftover vegetables, and stale bread, Ribollita means “reboiled.” The recipe derives from region’s tradition of cucina povera or peasant cooking, a cuisine of necessity and circumstance. Waste not, want not.
Serves 4; Time: 50 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cannellini beans, preferably cooked. If using canned, drain and rinse.
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably organic
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (or substitute with water)
1 rosemary sprig
1 thyme sprig
1 pound Lacinato kale, chopped (also known as black or dinosaur kale)
4 thick slices rustic country bread, fresh or stale
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Optional: 1 parmesan cheese rind
1. In a large Dutch over or pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat with garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden add onion, carrot, and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Set oven to 450 degrees. Add beans plus tomatoes with tomato juice from the can into the pot. Add stock and herb sprigs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a bubbling simmer. Add parmesan rind to soup, if using. Cover and cook, stirring a few times until flavors integrate, about 20 minutes.
3. Discard herb sprigs. Stir in chopped kale. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. The Parmesan rind will add saltiness, so adjust accordingly. Cook on simmer another 5 minutes or until kale wilts. Turn off heat and place bread slices on top of the liquid, covering without much overlap. Drizzle bread with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
4. Transfer pot without lid to oven and bake until bread and cheese are brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bread slices with tongs and place in bottom of four shallow bowls. Ladle soup over top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve.