Happy Hump Day, Soupers! So, shortly before the holiday season began, everywhere I turned, Instagram was abuzz with stunning photos of Ribollita. For the newly initiated like me, Ribollita or simply ‘reboiled’ in Italian, is one of Tuscany’s greatest harvest dishes. It’s made of day-old bread, white beans and vegetables and it’s oh, so comforting. It’s origins are believed to date back to the Middle Ages.
On a windy, chilly day here in Lausanne, we just had to attempt to make our own version, and boy, are we glad that we did! With the weather outside hovering just around freezing, this has to be the most comforting soup I’ve tasted in a long time … so good!
When the kiddies want seconds, you know that you have a winner. Just a couple of observations in preparation. First, pick a leafy green like a mustard, collard green or even kale. In my case, I selected Cima Rapa because it’s in season right now in Italy and very easily accessible to us in Switzerland. Second, the recipe calls for pancetta, but if you don’t have any, don’t use bacon. Instead take sausage because what you want is the fat off of the sausage.
Finally, make the cannellini white beans from scratch because you will want to add the aquafaba distilled from the cooked beans to the soup! Here, you can soak the bean overnight in water; discard the beans that float to the top, rinse and cook the beans in water, salt, pepper on low on your cooktop. The longer you cook them the better but roughly four hours, otherwise they get mushy. Since this dish contains no meat (except if you add a chicken broth), the bean’s aquafaba provides an amazing flavor.
So that’s all that we are going to say about this amazing dish! Definitely, it will be added to our normal lunch or dinner rotation!
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground sausage
2 cups cooked cannellini beans with aquafaba (1 canned of beans if also fine)
2 handfuls of Rapa di cima with stems trimmed off and leaves off and well chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 8-ounce cans of tomato paste
1 green onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 shallots, chopped
½ leek, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 baguette (day old) or 4 large, thick slices whole-grain bread, toasted
4 oz. of parmesan cheese with the rind
A splash of lemon juice
A splash of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of spicy paprika
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Prep 20min
- Meal Time Dinner
- Serves 4
- In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, shallots, and leeks. Then add the ground sausage and lightly brown it.
- Cook for 10 -15 minutes, sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and spicy paprika, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves and all other seasonings. Then, add the broth and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit and stir regularly.
- Set aside two cups of the simmering liquid for the blender. Then tear up the bread and pulse together in the blender.
- Back to your soup, stir in the beans to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Remove the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme springs. Add in the Rapa id cima and reduce the heat and cook for 10 more minutes at a lower temperature.
- Add in the parmesan cheese with the rind and cook until melts.
- Finally stir in bread mixture into the soup.
- Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Add a splash or lemon juice or lemon zest.
- Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or “ribollita” meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and any remaining parmesan cheese.