Since my mind has been in Italy, I wanted to share a recipe from Iolanda Marcocci, one of the original nonnas at Tuscan Women Cook, a cooking school based in Montefollonico, Italy.
Here is an excerpt from their newly released cookbook, available now at Kentucky Soaps & Such.
Like most Tuscan fare, ribollita dates to the Middle Ages when peasants foraged for whatever food they could find. They crafted a thick, satisfying soup from dried beans, common vegetables from backyard gardens, and stale bread.
Ribollita means “re-boiled” in Italian.
This is another way of saying, “Wow, this will taste even better tomorrow!” When the bread has an extra day or two to absorb even more of the flavorful broth, ribollita will thicken and taste creamy. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables and herbs to this recipe. There are no hard and fast rules for ribollita, except to reheat and enjoy day after day.
- 2 cups (14 ounces) dried small white beans, washed
- Small piece of Parmesan cheese rind
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- One 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dried oregano to taste
- 3 large Swiss chard leaves, chiffonade
- ½ medium white cabbage, chopped
- 8 pieces dry day-old or toasted Italian bread
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Olive oil for garnish
- Rinse the beans in a colander and pick out any debris. Place in a medium stockpot and add cold water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Cover and soak overnight.
- Drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Add the Parmesan cheese rind. Over medium heat, simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, the beans, and their cooking liquid. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the chard and cabbage. Add additional water, vegetable or chicken broth to completely cover the chard and cabbage.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Place a piece of bread in each bowl. Ladle the soup on top of the bread. Top each serving of the soup with some Parmesan cheese, a dash of olive oil, and pepper. Enjoy!