Before summer arrives, and the temperatures start to soar, I just had to share one last soup recipe. I do enjoy chilled soups like gazpacho or chilled pea soup, but they’re not something I usually make. Perhaps I should start, because I love soup! So before summer sets in, I try to enjoy a bowl or two of piping hot soup. Ribolita being one of my favorites.
This is not a family recipe, nor is it a recipe from a friend. This is a combination of about 6 or 7 recipes that I have tried over the years. As in all Italian “peasant” recipes (this one is from Tuscany), you can really use whatever is on hand. I love to use dark or red kale, but honestly, any kale will do just fine. If I can’t find savoy cabbage, I just use regular cabbage. If I have a leek on hand, I’ll throw it in, but it’s not essential. Red onion, sweet onion…it doesn’t matter. I will say that what I think does matter is the quality of olive oil, tomatoes and broth. So use your favorites. Please don’t tell anyone, but in this recipe I use canned cannellini beans. Why not???
I hope you get an opportunity to make this before you start grilling every night. But if not, please remember it once the autumn air chills our evenings once again.
RECIPE: about 6 (maybe 8) servings
2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 large yellow onion (red onion is yummy also)
1 leek, white part chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 large bulb of fennel, chopped (can also use celery …3 stalks)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can of Italian plum tomatoes, squished
1 large head of savoy cabbage, shredded
1 large bunch of dark kale ( or any kale), coarsely chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch pieces
6 cups of broth, either vegetable or chicken
4 cups of stale Italian bread, cut into chunks
1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and leeks and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the squished tomatoes and all their juice, the cabbage, kale and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes.
2. Add the broth and beans, and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes.
3. Add the bread and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
4. Serve hot in large bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and perhaps a drizzle of olive oil.