It’s October and the weather is making us think of hearty fall dishes. We’re big fans of soups and stews in the fall, and there is none more comforting or hearty than Tuscan “Ribollita,” which you can learn on our Tuscany cooking tours. It might not look appetizing in pictures – it pretty much always resembles brown mush! – but it’s hugely delicious.
The name literally translates to “re-boiled,” as it was usually made from reheated leftover soup combined with stale old bread. Sounds good right? Don’t let the description fool you, it is a wonderful mix of carrots, kale (or chard), onions, beans, and well soaked bread.
Here at The International Kitchen we like it good and thick, so that almost all liquid has been evaporated or absorbed, and drizzled with a potent extra virgin olive oil.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 80 minutes
Cook method: Simmer
- 1 red onion
- 3 carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 potatoes
- 4 zucchini
- one bunch Lacinato Kale (or you can substitute Swiss Chard or green kale)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for garnish
- 6 basil leaves
- tomatoes, preferably plum
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 4 cups day old Tuscan style bread broken into small pieces
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 1⁄2 cups crushed cannellini beans (canned or dried and reconstituted and cooked)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the onion, carrots and celery. Put the olive oil in a stockpot, heat gently and add the chopped vegetables. Cook until soft but not browned.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into medium size pieces. Trim and cut the zucchini, into about the same size pieces as the potatoes. Add vegetables to the stockpot. Add a cup or so of broth and continue cooking on a medium flame. Trim the tough ends from the kale or chard and coarsely chop. Add to the stockpot.
- While the vegetables are cooking, briefly blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed and dice. Add the tomatoes to the vegetables in the stockpot.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and cook over a low flame for about an hour. Drain the liquid from a can of cannellini beans (or from reconstituted and cooked dried cannellini) and then mash the beans with a large spoon. Add this to the vegetables and cook for about 20 minutes.
- At this point add the bread pieces bit by bit (add enough bread so that your ribollita has the consistency of a stew).
- Coarsely chop the basil and add to the soup.
- Serve in bowls with a generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
Of course, you can make this with real Tuscan kale and Tuscan bread on a cooking vacation in Tuscany! But even making it at home, you’ll find it a perfect fall comfort food.
Are you a soup and stew eater? What’s your favorite cold weather dish for fall?
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