Day 303–Ribolita–Italian Twice Cooked Soup

White Cannellini beans

Ribolita uses white beans and leftover bread as thickeners, instead of cream.

Italian cooks are amazing. So many Italian recipes are born of necessity, frugality and making the most of whatever you have handy. And when you have a little of this and a little of that, plus some leftover bread, this Italian soup recipe is the bomb. Why “twice cooked?” This is one of those awesome recipes that tastes better the day after it is made, so you cook it once, park it in the fridge, then re-boil (ribolita) the soup the next day for a feast.

We’re in definite soup weather. Although our days are mostly sunny and cool, our evenings have been pretty brisk. For me, that is weather just calling out for soup. Ribolita is one of my all time favorite soups to make, especially when I have winter vegetables in the refrigerator and need to do something with them. Quick. When I make this, I chop all the vegetables first and have them ready to go. At the start, it seems like my counter is overflowing with veggies–the kale seems to really like taking over everything. It’s so good that I let it. As I continue to add ingredients, the pot gets to the point of brimming and the whole kitchen smells amazing. Gradually, I find my counter again.

Did I tell you this makes a ton of soup? I haven’t exactly weighed it, but I’m pretty sure it’s near a ton. So be prepared to freeze some unless you have a big family or some potluck to go to. And don’t be intimidated that this has a lot of ingredients–most of them are vegetables that you can find at your local farmer’s market this time of year. You do not need to serve anything with this soup. It is a complete meal all by itself!

Ribolita

  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into rough chunks
  • 3 large stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 c. green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, diced (or 1 can)
  • 12 slices French bread, lightly toasted (or slice it and leave it to dry overnight)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, for serving
  1. Place the beans, broth, garlic, sage, bay and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove 1 cup of the beans and discard bay and sage leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the reserved beans and set aside.
  3. In another large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, until transparent. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, Swiss chard and kale. Stir in the tomatoes. Season to taste.
  4. Cook vegetables until greens have wilted (about 20-30 minutes), stirring often.
  5. Stir in the pureed beans and cook about 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
  6. Stir in the remaining beans and stock. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add the toasted bread slices and cook about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Reheat the soup over low heat about 20 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into bowls and top each bowl with some Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Day 80–First Day of Spring and Eggs Nested in Sauteed Chard

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) with variously col...

The first day of spring is typically celebrated with great exuberance in my house. Tom hates winter. Hates. It. He usually has a big, dramatic countdown to the first day of spring–this countdown begins shortly after we open Christmas presents. So, you understand my surprise when not only did we NOT have a countdown this year, but we were well on our way to work when he said, “Oh yeah, it’s the first day of spring!” We did a  little happy dance in the car (good that Ellie was already at school, so we were spared the eye rolling), but that was it for our celebration. The truth is, we have had spring here in NC since January. We’re not complaining, mind you, but it is a bit anticlimactic to celebrate something that arrived two months ago.

One of my favorite spring foods is swiss chard, especially the rainbow variety. Due to our hot summers, chard is usually out of the way by June, so we have to enjoy it quickly. Chard has a fresh, sweet taste that is something like a really amped up spinach. And we are absolutely ready for something other than collards and kale.

So tonight, in celebration of spring, we will have a dish that uses two fresh springtime foods–swiss chard and fresh farm eggs. This dish was shared by a friend and it looks to be healthy, fresh and easy to make. Thanks to Ben’s Produce for the organic rainbow chard and Water Oaks Farm for the fresh eggs!

This recipe is from Simply Recipes and since the recipe is not mine, I’m directing you to the original source. If I can get my food porn skills in gear, I will post photos, but the photos on the recipe site are pretty amazing, so they speak for themselves.

Happy first day of spring! Or 80th day of spring, whichever the case may be. Celebrate with something fresh and delicious today!