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Ribollita, Tuscan-Style Vegetable Soup

From A Villa In Tuscany by Sharon O'Connor

Make this rich, thick vegetable soup the day before you plan to serve it, then gently bring it back to a boil. The soup is called ribollita (“reboiled”) because it must be heated twice. This recipe can easily be doubled.

Tuscan-Style Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium potato, peeled and finely diced
1 medium zucchini, finely diced
1/2 bunch cavalo nero (dark kale), center stalks removed and leaves chopped (See Cook’s Tips)
6 cups beef broth
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 fresh sage sprigs
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 garlic cloves, 2 crushed, one left whole
6 slices Italian bread, crusts removed
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1/2 tomato, finely diced
Salt to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the leeks and celery for 3 minutes. Add the carrot, potato, zucchini, and kale and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the beef broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 45 minutes
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the 1/3 cup olive oil, sage, rosemary, and the 2 crushed cloves garlic over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer and the garlic turns golden, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Grill or toast the bread slices on both sides. Slice the remaining garlic clove in half and rub the bread with the garlic; transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the cooked cannellini beans to the soup and cook for another 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and herbs from the olive oil. Add the olive oil, diced tomatoes, and salt to the soup and cook another 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Ladle one-third of the soup into a large pot. Top with a layer of half of the bread. Repeat, then top with the remaining soup. Let the soup stand for 3 or 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  6. Place the soup over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to break up the bread. Ladle into a soup terrine or bowls and drizzle with olive oil.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Cook's Tips:

Look for cavalo nero, a craggy dark green kale with long slender leaves that is also know as lacinato kale, Tuscan kale, or dinosaur or dino kale. If you can’t find it, use regular kale, Swiss chard, and/or savoy cabbage. To remove the center stalks from the kale, just pull the leaf away from the stem.