Ribollita

Ribollita means re-boiled or re-cooked in Italian, and is a traditional, hearty soup of Tuscany. The main components of Ribollita are white beans, black kale, cabbage and stale bread. Onion, carrot, celery and potato are the typical additions, but the soup can incorporate a number of extra vegetables such as brussel sprouts, zucchini and tomatoes. Recommended wine pairing: Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups dried cannellini (white kidney) beans - navy beans or white northern beans can be substituted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped (just the white parts)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup grated or finely chopped carrot
1 cup of chopped celery
1 tbsp tomato paste (dissolved into 1/4 cup warm water before adding to soup)
4 cups cavolo nero (black leaf kale), washed and shredded
2 cups savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
2 cups swiss chard leaves washed and shredded
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
salt & pepper
1 cup of day old peasant or Italian white bread, crusts removed
Water to use and add as necessary.

The day before:
Place beans in a large bowl and cover with at least 4 inches of water. Let soak in a cool place (like the fridge) for at least 8 hours or overnight. Also, leave out a loaf of Italian country bread, or white Italian bread over night.

The day of:
For this dish you will need a large pan, such as a cast iron or casserole stock pot, with a lid and a thick bottom.

Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the leek, garlic, carrots and celery and cook another 4-5 minutes. Add the cabbage, kale and beans and stir well. Dissolve the tomato paste into 1/4 cup of warm water and add to soup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Poor enough water into the pot to just cover the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 hours - the telling sign will be the tenderness of the beans. Check on soup every 10 to 15 minutes and add water as needed - you want to keep the soup just covered.

When beans are tender, add potatoes and cook for another hour covered at a low simmer.

When potatoes are done, turn off heat and stir in bread. Let soup rest, covered, for another 30 minutes. Then serve over more bread or on it's own. Drizzle olive oil over each serving.

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