Recipe: Winter Soup – Ribollita

Having just returned to Connecticut from California, where I would use the words “mild,” “comfortable,” and dare I say “enjoyable” to describe the winter there, I am struck by the weather contrast to the Northeast.  We deplaned into below freezing weather and made the mistake of commenting on how little snow there was on the ground!  “Isn’t that nice!”  And, “Aren’t we lucky!”  But silly and naive, we were!  Not surprisingly, the cosmos had a laugh at our expense, which I discovered when I awoke the next day to several inches of fresh powder.

So logically, the only remedy was to make some soup!  Now let me first just say that I have deep respect for food photographers — it is not easy to make a dish look scrumptious on film.  Especially not stew-like soup.  But!  This particular soup, regardless of its appearance, was delicious.  And since I like to cook, and I love finding new and tasty recipes, I thought I’d share it with you (sans photo) — something which I may make a weekly habit.


Generously Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
14 oz canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lb 2 oz (or one large bunch) Tuscan kale or savory cabbage, ribs trimmed and sliced
1 small day-old ciabatta loaf, torn into small pieces
extra vegetable stock, for thinning
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the onions, carrots, and celery for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are golden and caramelized.  Add the garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to cook for 1 or 2 minutes.

Add the cannellini beans and tomatoes and enough vegetable stock (or water) to cover.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the parsley and kale and cook for 5 minutes more.

Stir in the bread and add more stock, though the soup should be thick.  Taste for seasoning; adjust if necessary.  Serve warm, drizzled with olive oil.

I hope your winter will be at least slightly improved by this soup!  If you can’t eat it all in one go, be prepared for some seriously think, but still yummy, leftovers.  And if you have any recipes (soup or otherwise!) that you enjoy, I’d love to hear about them!  Feel free to email them to me, or share them in the comments!  Enjoy!

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