Ribollita con Verdure
Rachael says, “This soup is a staple in Tuscany, my favorite place to eat because the food goes back so many generations and remains so simple and not-fussed-with. This bread soup has some vegetables in it, but it is made with beef stock. For a vegetarian version, use all vegetable or wild mushroom stock and skip the pancetta or bacon.”
Serve with Individual Italian Meringue Trifle.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 4 thick slices pancetta (not smoked) or bacon (smoked), chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 medium, skinny zucchini, cut into thin slices
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry red wine (a couple of glugs)
- 1 can petite diced or chunky style crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
- 6 cups beef stock, available in boxes on the soup aisle, such as Kitchen Basics brand
- 4 cups stale bread (about 1/2 pound), chopped or torn
- 2 cans small white beans – smaller than cannellini beans (15 ounces each), such as Goya brand
- 4 cups chopped kale or chard
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to pass at the table
Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO, about three turns of the pan, and the pancetta or bacon and render for 4 minutes. Add the rosemary, garlic, three quarters of the onion, carrots and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the veggies for 7-8 minutes, then add the wine and deglaze the pot. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and turn up the heat.
When the soup boils, reduce to a simmer and stir in the bread and beans. Pile the greens into the pot and wilt them into the soup. Simmer the ribollita for 5-10 minutes, stirring the soup as it simmers, until it thickens to a dense stew-like consistency. A wooden spoon should be able to stand upright in the pot.
Turn off the heat, adjust the seasonings and ladle into shallow bowls. Top with grated cheese, an additional drizzle of EVOO and a spoonful of reserved finely chopped raw onion.