Robin and I discovered this dish when cycling with our tandem bike in the Chianti region in 2019. Since then, the ribollita is a recurring dish in our kitchen. We make with any leftover veggies and bread we have.
- ½ lb. dried cannellini beans (1 ⅓ cups)
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 garlic clove
- 2-3 thyme sprigs (leaves only)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 potato, medium sized
- ½ lb. lacinato kale (roughly a bunch)
- ½ head Savoy cabbage (about ¾ lb.)
- ⅓ lb. Swiss chard
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste or ⅓ cup of canned diced tomatoes or 1 fresh tomato
- ½ lb. whole wheat, rustic, stale bread (brown paesano or pain de champagne or country brown, but a rustic white such as sourdough would also work)
- To taste, freshly ground black pepper
- Place the (unsoaked!) dried beans in the smaller pot with 4 cups of cold water and just ½ teaspoon of salt. Turn on the heat to medium and bring to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cover with a lid. Keep simmering until cooked (between 3- and 3 ½ hours in my experience). Otherwise use soaked beans and cook them in the same amount of water, until done (cooking time will be quicker).
- Meanwhile, chop the carrot, onion, and celery. Mince the garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes, clean and cut the remaining vegetables into ½-inch slices or cubes. Set aside.
- When the beans are cooked, drain them, reserving the cooking water. In a blender or food processor, puree about ¾ of the beans and return the bean purée to the cooking water. Set aside. Also set aside the remaining whole beans.
- In a large pot, prepare the soffritto: heat 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and sauté the carrot, celery, garlic and onion over medium-high heat, until golden in color, about 7-8 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning.
- Add the thyme leaves, the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt, the remaining fresh vegetables, the tomato paste, the bean purée with its water, along with an additional 4 cups of water. Cook over low heat, covered, for about 1 hour.
- Finally, add the previously cooked whole beans and the stale bread, cut into ½-inch slices, crust on. Stir, cook for another 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
- Let soup sit for at least a few hours, ideally overnight. Then, reheat the soup, boiling for a few minutes at low heat.
- Serve sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper and drizzled with a little high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.