Well, if you’re reading this you must be perseverant. It may or may not be true that not one of our intrepid internet heroes has posted any saucy soup-related content here in about a month. Chalk it up to various challenges including but not limited to: learning how to communicate with children, jury duty, PhD exams, a very special wedding that brought us all together in revelry, and surviving Chicago during its coldest week this winter.
Well, I’m here today to re-boot. With ribollita. First some questions and answers:
Q: So what is this soup? Any why is it worthy of the blog?
A: Well, it’s a hearty soup, a potage even, with origins in the kitchens of renaissance-era Tuscan peasants. The name vaguely means “reboiled”, indicating it’s made out of whatever you have left over from last night – specifically bread. Some say the peasants would use the bread leftover from the banquet tables of their lords. People say a lot of things. It’s on the blog because it’s actually really easy and fast and it is SOUPER delicious and the renaissance connection is apt.
Q: What do I need to make it?
A: There are several key traditional ingredients. It can be flexible with really whatever veg you have lying around the kitchen, but traditionally, it’s built around kale (Lacinato), white beans (cannellini), a soffrito, and stale country bread. Inspired by a fellow blogger’s soup from the other side of the world, I topped mine with a delicious soft-boiled egg. Not traditionally done, but so good and perfect in this dish.
Q: Gee whiz, that sounds great – how do I make it?
A: I thought you’d never ask. As mentioned before it’s really straightforward and if you use canned beans and tomatoes (fresh on both counts will be lovely, but do add quite a bit of time…) it can be done in about 35 minutes, prep included! Love that!
- 2 Eggs
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 large handfuls of leftover/stale rustic bread, torn into small pieces (don’t use sandwich bread – it’ll break down too much)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 Bunch Lacinato Kale (about 100-200g)
- 1 medium-large carrot
- 1 onion (medium yellow works well)
- 1 medium bunch parsley
- 3-4 cups vegetable stock, depending how chunky you like the soup
- ½ cup grated parmesan or grana padano
- flaked red pepper to taste (start with a pinch)
- Sautée the onion (chopped) with the garlic (minced) in about 2 tbsp oil for 2-3 mins until soft. Add the carrot, a bit of salt and pepper, and cook for about 4 minutes until soft.
- Add the beans (drained and rinsed), the tomatoes (with juices), the kale (thinly sliced in a chiffonade), the red pepper, and the veg stock and bring up to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 6-8 mins, until reduced slightly.
- Stir in the bread bits, half the cheese, and half the parsley (chopped fine). Simmer for 5-7 mins, until the soup has thickened. Correct the seasoning for salt/pepper
- Soft boil the eggs while the soup simmers. I use the Cook’s Illustrated method and it works perfectly every time. Basically, use a small pot, only cover the eggs halfway in boiling water, and put a lid on the pot for exactly 6 mins. Even the peeling isn’t so bad – but do be careful, since they’ll be delicate.
- Top the soup with the remaining cheese and parsley, the peeled eggs, and eat up!