by Susan Hanna
Ribollita, which means “reboiled” is a hearty Tuscan soup traditionally made from leftover vegetables and stale bread. This version from Ina Garten—which contains white beans, pancetta, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, savoy cabbage, kale, basil, chicken stock and bread—is a perfect supper on a cold winter night. Soak and cook the beans (or use one 19 oz/540 ml can of white beans) and set aside. Cook the pancetta and vegetables. Puree half the beans and add them and the whole beans to the pot. Add water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the cubed bread and simmer for another 10 minutes before serving, topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Use dried beans or Blue Menu canned white beans. Look for pancetta preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Check the red pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour. Unico or Blue Menu canned tomatoes are additive free. I use Imagine organic chicken stock and Ace Bakery bread. Genuine Parmesan is additive- and colour-free—look for the name stamped on the rind. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.
- ½ pound (226 g) dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup (60 ml) good olive oil, plus extra for serving
- ¼ pound (113 g) large-diced pancetta or smoked bacon
- 2 cups (500 ml) chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 1 cup (250 ml) chopped carrots (3 carrots)
- 1 cup (250 ml) chopped celery (3 stalks)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ (1.25 ml) teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce/796 ml) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
- 4 cups (1 L) coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional
- 4 cups (1 L) coarsely chopped kale
- ½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves
- 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 4 cups (1 L) sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
- ½ cup (125 ml) freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- In a large bowl, cover the dried beans with cold water by 1 inch (2.54 cm) and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups (2 L) of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
- Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups (2 L). Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.
From Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home