It doesn't get better than a satisfying pot of Ribollita, a classic Tuscan soup that's made with white beans, vegetables, and hearty day-old bread. Make it stovetop or in your slow-cooker (see notes section for this option). And you'll love the rich Italian flavors, thanks to a couple of herbs and a little Parmesan cheese magic!
28ozcanned whole San Marzano tomatoes(or any whole canned tomatoes you like)
1cupdry white wine
4cups vegetable broth
2 15-ozcans cannellini beansdrained and well rinsed
½teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes,optional
1lbkale, thick stems and veins removed, chopped
grated Parmesan cheese,optional
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Tear the bread into large pieces and put it on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to make sure the bread is coated. Spread the bread in one layer on the sheet pan. Bake in the heated oven for about 10 minutes or until somewhat toasted and golden brown.
In a large cooking pot, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Sprinkle a little kosher salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook, tossing regularly, until softened. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, tossing regularly (do not let the garlic brown).
Add the tomatoes, white wine and broth. Cook over medium heat for little bit, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, combine about ½ cup of the brothy tomato mixture and 1 cup of the cannelini beans. Puree.
To the pot with the tomato mixture, add the parmesan rind, fresh thyme, bay leaf, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir to combine. Let simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Now add the white beans (both the whole and pureed beans) and fresh kale (stir to make sure the kale is submerged in the soup) to the cooking pot. Let the kale cook for a few minutes. Add ½ of the toasted ciabatta bread and stir. Let simmer a little bit longer until the kale has fully cooked and the bread has softened and absorbed some fo the liquid (see notes).
Remove from the heat. Remove what is left of the Parmesan rind, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Top the soup with a bit more of the toasted bread. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan, if you like. Enjoy!
Low carb option...add the bread to the serving bowls instead. If you're not sure you're going to finish the ribollita soup in one dinner, or if some in your family need their ribollita with little or no bread, consider adding the toasted bread directly to the serving bowls, then ladle the bean and vegetable soup on top and allow a few minutes for the bread to absorb some of the liquid.
Make ahead option. If you are not planning on serving the soup right away, or if you're making it ahead for lunch or dinner the next day, cook the soup with the beans and vegetables according to the recipe but hold off on the bread. When you're ready to serve it, reboil the soup (remember, ribollita means reboiled). While the soup is reboiling, toast the bread in the oven with a bit of extra virgin olive oil (step 1). Add some of the bread to the soup and allow it a bit of time to absorb the liquid and soften. Always keep a bit of the toasted bread to garnish, it gives great texture.
Slow Cooker Option. If you want to use a slow cooker, you can use 1 cup of dried beans. Skip steps #1 and #2, you will toast the bread later before you serve. Cook the sofrito per step #3 then transfer to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the kale. Set the slow cooker on high for 6 hours or low for 12 hours (always a good idea to check on the soup from time to time). Follow the You can use 1 cup dry cannellini beans (no need to soak). Add the kale and leave it a few minutes (should be on high) until cooked. A few minutes before serving, remove the Parmesan rind, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Toast the bread and add it to the soup and allow it a bit of time to soak up some of the liquid.