I took a really nice and really long break from writing in this space. Too long maybe, but I don't care, I needed the rest! I got my basement finished, had a shit ton of professional work, went on a vacation (NYC), got a puppy (cause who doesn't want three dogs plus five kids), lost a few pounds (major sugar break, interval running and weight training)...ya know, your basic post-holiday, make it through winter blog writing break 🙂
But it is time to come back, refreshed and happy to be baking and cooking and giving some awesome AF recipes. And this ribollita is the perfect thing to come back for...it is f'ing amazing. Since winter is technically over - though we had a snow dusting over the weekend - and I may be wearing a tank top this weekend (it is supposed to be 70 on Sunday), keep this in your mind for those few straggling cold days left hanging around.
I first had ribollita - god, like 15 years ago, how can that be that long - in Florence Italy...and I had four bowls of it. It is kind of like a a baby soups made from pasta e fagioli and minestrone. A meatless (hellllooooo perfect Lenten Friday dinner) soup, and full of toasted stale bread making it thick and like a vegetable stew. This is a carb heavy dish, but who f'ing cares!! The bread is the best part! Sometimes you need a damn carb - period.
In the recipe, I list all the vegetables I used in this particular batch, but I will tell you that you can pretty much use any vegetable you have around or whatever is in season ORRRRRR whatever you think sounds good. It is stupidly adaptable to whatever you feel like and you can use as much or as little vegetables as you have on hand. So consider the recipe more just a suggestion or a reminder that this dish so be in your repertoire, when you have extra vegetables on hand 🙂
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 4 celery stalks chopped
- 1 pound of green beans trimmed and cut in halves
- 2 red peppers chopped and seeded
- 3 medium cloves garlic chopped
- 3 medium carrots diced
- one large bunch of kale I used Tuscan kale, finely chopped
- one large bunch of rainbow chard finely chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 14- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14- ounce can of diced tomatoes I used fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock I use vegetable when I have it
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cans of cannellini great northern beans, drained and rinsed really really good
- One loaf of farmhouse white bread french bread or italian bread, sort of stale, broken into pieces and toasted in the oven until dried and lightly golden
- salt and pepper
- zest of one lemon
- In your biggest dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot heat the olive oil. Add celery, green beans, red peppers garlic, carrot, and onion. Salt them a bit and cook for about 15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but try not to brown them. Add the tomato paste and cook for about four more minutes. Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the kale and the chard (or whatever greens you use), the beans, the six cups of stock and two cups of water. Add additional salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are wilted and softened, about 25 minutes.
- Stir both the cannellini beans and the toasted bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, about a half hour. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if it needs it - a little at a time. Takes time and tasting but def worth it, once you overdo it, you just have soup everyone will describe as salty. Stir in the lemon zest.
- Serve this warm, drizzled with olive oil.