Saturday, February 15, 2014


We had dinner at Architect’s house on Wednesday just as we were preparing for another snow event. This time, a nor’easter that dumped over a foot of snow, sleet and rain along the 95 corridor.

This is getting tiresome.

Everyone seems quite grumpy.

On a positive note and to stave-off our mid-winter doldrums, we have been preparing and enjoying hearty meals, like the Ribollita Architect made.

In Italian, Ribollita means, “reboiled” and this famous Tuscan peasant soup is true to the Italian goal never to waste anything.  Originally, the Italians made it by reheating any leftover soup from the previous day and throwing in a boatload of readily available and cheap vegetables, beans and day-old bread to create a hearty potage (or “stoup”- a cross between a stew and a soup as Rachel Ray calls it).

Quick grammar detour:  In the paragraph above, I originally wrote “to never waste” and my computer informed me that was a “split infinitive.”  What? A split infinitive occurs when a word, such as never, comes between to and a verb, in this case, waste.  The nuns would be so proud.

Back to the soup…the recipe below is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s, recipe. Architect found it on-line posted by Kathy who enjoyed a similar version at a “little pizzeria between Pienza and Montepulciano.” Typically, you make this soup with spinach or cabbage, but using kale or Swiss chard instead softens the flavors a bit.  You could use any green really, or use bouquet of several of the leafy lovelies!

Warning…you will need a large pot to make this!

Adapted from:  The Barefoot Contessa

1½ pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
 Kosher salt
¼ cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
8 cups coarsely chopped kale
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 crusty baguette
Olive oil
Fresh Garlic

In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap  and soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8-10 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the greens, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In a food processor or blender, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Slice the baguette, brush on some olive oil, rub with fresh garlic and toast in the oven until crispy (Architect used the toaster oven).  Add the bread to bowls, ladle some soup over the bread, drizzle on a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

This was delicious, filling and so completely satisfying.  We also had a kale and cashew salad and Bourbon Chocolate Cake…more on that later.



Martha Perkins said...

Yum! Going to CoOp now to get Kale, the only ingredient I need. And then flopping on the couch with Olympics while I watch the snow fall....again.

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

Let me know how you like it!