This is stick-to-your-ribs-and-keep-you-warm soup, perfect for today’s temperature – we did not get above the 20s. It’s going to be a long winter – better make some more of this comforting Italian soup standard.
Ribolitta (Italian for “reboiled”)(from Williams-Sonoma)
- 1 1/2 cups dried white beans, preferably
- 4 cups water
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes
- 1 to 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 lb. savoy cabbage or 1/3 lb. each kale, Swiss
chard and savoy cabbage, tough stems
removed and leaves coarsely chopped or
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 to 8 slices coarse country bread
To make the beans, rinse them, drain, and place in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat, boil for 2 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and return to the saucepan with fresh water to cover by about 2″. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are tender but not falling apart, about 1 hour. Add the salt during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove and discard the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Set the beans aside in their liquid.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, the cooked white beans and their liquid, thyme, salt and pepper, and enough water just to cover the vegetables. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all the vegetables are very tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the heat, let cool. (You can cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or for up to 3 days).
Remove the soup from the refrigerator. Layer 2 or 3 bread slices in the bottom of a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Ladle in enough soup just to cover. Repeat the layers until all the bread and soup are in the pan, ending with the soup. Slowly bring the soup to a boil over low heat, stirring often to make sure that the bottom doesn’t scorch and to break up the bread, 20 – 30 minutes. It should eventually dissolve and absorb the liquids completely, forming a very thick soup.
Scoop into bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve. Makes 6 servings.