Soup or Entree - Vegan/vegetarian - Lactose free - Can be gluten free (READ footnotes)
Almost 15 years ago, I married a Tuscan man! Everyone in town was raving about ribollita and, not only, I had never prepared it... I never ever ate it!! So I went to the local "fruttivendola", Franca, (grocer that sells mainly, if not only, fruits and vegetables) and asked her "the ingredients for ribollita": she would do the rest, and this recipe is exactly what she taught me! I love this dish, both warm and at room temperature. As its summer counterpart Panzanella, Ribollita too is a dish "created" by Tuscan peasants to utilize stale bread that could not be eaten or used in another way. The concept is to use whatever vegetables were available; it has been changed a little over the years and this is a fairly precise recipe. With this weather, ribollita is perfect! This is a dish prepared in two separate times.
2 14-oz jars/cans Italian cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
2 bunches black Tuscan kale (you can find it as Dinosaur Kale, most of the times), cut in strips
2 bunches Swiss chard, cut in strips
2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 fairly big onions, thinly sliced
1 Leek, thinly sliced (only the white part)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 Celery sticks, sliced
1/2 head Savoy (or green) cabbage, shredded
1 14-oz can Italian San Marzano peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Italian artisan bread (preferably 2-3 days old and dry)
Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
In a really big pot put all the vegetables, not the beans, and water at least to cover all of them.
Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 2 hours, add beans, season with salt and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
At this point, add the bread and let it absorb all the liquid.
The day after, warm up the soup again, letting it simmer for about 30 minutes (ribollita means boiled twice), stirring and serve it drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Bread should look almost like a cream.
These quantities will make enough ribollita for 6-8
- Another way to serve this soup is layering bread, vegetables and olive oil. This way you can warm up the soup in the oven or freeze it, divided into portions, and warm up in the microwave.
- Only use a high quality Italian - Tuscan - Pugliese - Ciabatta bread! The other breads like French, sandwich (even if labeled as Italian), buns or similar are NOT suitable!
- Instead of water, you can use chicken or vegetable broth.
- I always make more than I need and freeze it. It makes a perfect office/school lunch .
- The use of parmigiano is actually not advised, so it won't cover all the other flavors.
- It's vegan/vegetarian (DON'T use chicken broth ;-) ), lactose free and can be gluten free, if you use GF bread.