Ribollita

Good day! I was reminded of this site’s existence over the weekend when I received notice that it would be up for renewal soon. To be honest, I considered briefly whether or not I should renew it. Do I really use it? Hmm, not very often, it’s true. But I must admit, I do enjoy having the ability to post recipes, even if no one is paying any attention, even if it is only for my own reference.

Anyway. Lately, I have been enjoying a great many newsletters because this is what people do now instead of blog: they send newsletters. There is something very retro about that! One that I particularly enjoy is Evil Witches. In the most recent edition there is a list of soup recipes that I am just going to go ahead and consider a meal plan for the next two months, or for as long as it is cold and grey outside (lol so the next four months). Last week I chose Mark Bittman’s ribollita recipe and it was a tremendously huge hit among all two of the people in my household. I will probably make it again tonight!

Now I’m going to say something controversial: I find that Mark Bittman recipes are never…quite right. I am sure this is more due to user error (mine) than anything else. Or maybe it is a case of a lot of small differences (my dumb stove, the pot or utensils I’m using, the fact that I am not Mark Bittman) adding up to produce a big difference. I’m not sure. But I find that they almost always need a tweak in order to work properly. The only thing I will suggest here is that you will likely need at least a cup more liquid than what is called for. If you are already using four cups of broth, adding an additional cup of water would probably be fine; I also would not recommend using only water. The other two notes I have are that I used 10 ounces of kale, not a pound, and it was more than enough; and also that you can use a teaspoon of Italian seasoning (I make my own, but Penzey’s has a good one) in place of the fresh herbs. I am typically a proponent of fresh herbs but I wasn’t going to spend $6 on a package of rosemary and a package of thyme in order to use one sprig each. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Ribollita

Ingredients
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock or water*
1 fresh rosemary sprig*
1 fresh thyme sprig*
1 pound chopped kale or escarole
4 large, thick slices whole-grain bread, toasted
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

*see notes in post

Method
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Drain the beans; if they’re canned, rinse them as well. Add them to the pot along with tomatoes and their juices and stock, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the soup bubbles steadily; cover and cook, stirring once or twice to break up the tomatoes, until the flavors meld, 15 to 20 minutes.

Fish out and discard rosemary and thyme stems, if you like, and stir in kale. Taste and adjust seasoning. Lay bread slices on top of the stew so they cover the top and overlap as little as possible. Scatter red onion slices over the top, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Put the pot in the oven and bake until the bread, onions and cheese are browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. (If your pot fits under the broiler, you can also brown the top there.) Divide the soup and bread among 4 bowls and serve.

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