Italian Ribollita – a marvelous blend of flavors and textures, served up in a bowl.
- 3 tbsp. Partanna extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (for authentic Italian taste, use this brand)
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 medium carrots or equiv. winter squash, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 14 oz. (400 ml) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound (16 ounces / 450g) purple kale, stems trimmed off and leaves well chopped (cavolo nero if you can get it (lacinato kale, Tuscan black winter cabbage/kale), but regular purple kale will still do the trick)
- 4 cups (22 oz. / 620g) cooked white Cannellini beans
- 1/2 pound (8 oz. / 225g) loaf of day old (at least) bread, left out in the air to dry, crust removed
- 1-1/2 + 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
- zest of one lemon
- lots of well-chopped oily Taggiasca (purplish and/or black) olives
- In your largest thick-bottomed pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the cavolo nero, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups (2 liters) water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water – until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
- Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight, then serve it the next day. Ribollita tastes great when ladled into bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh chopped olives for garnish.