Ribollita

Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 | 0 comments

Serves 4

8 oz dried white beans (preferably cannellini)
1 lb. Tuscan black cabbage (or Swiss chard, if you can’t find black cabbage)
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion
1 leek
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
2 small branches thyme
1 small branch rosemary
1/2 bay leaf
1 beef bouillon cube (or Better than Bouillon, which really is better)
1 clove garlic
1 tsb. tomato paste
Stale bread or toasted slices of crusty bread
Salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste

Ribollita is at its best when prepared a day or two in advance.

  1. Soak the beans overnight, then drain and rinse. In a large saucepan, cover them completely with water and cook covered until soft, about one hour.
  2. Wash the cabbage (or Swiss chard) and boil it for five minutes in slightly salted water. Drain the water and slice the cabbage into small strips.
  3. Slice the onion and leek thinly and dice the carrot, celery, and garlic. Over medium heat, sautee the onion, leek, carrot, celery, and garlic in the olive oil along with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme. When the onion begins to turn golden, add the cabbage and reduce the heat slightly.
  4. Stirring constantly, let the ingredients cook for another ten minutes. Now remove the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, and add the tomato, bouillon, and beans, along with the water in which the beans were cooked. If necessary, add more water until the mixture becomes the consistency of a thick soup. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Traditionally, you would now add stale Tuscan bread and cook, stirring, until the bread dissolves into a thick mass that you could easily eat with a fork. I have also seen it served as a thinner soup, ladled over slices of toasted bread previously rubbed with garlic, but this is definitely a contemporary take on the dish. Regardless, a very thin stream of high-quality extra virgin olive oil drizzled along the top is mandatory.