Aired February 23, 2010
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 to 4 small ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
7 to 8 leaves of sage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch Tuscan kale (aka. lacinato), leaves stripped and very thinly sliced (dinosaur kale or Swiss chard are fine to use as well)
A few grates of nutmeg
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups water
A piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
5 to 6 slices (each about 1/2-inch thick) stale peasant bread or crusty white bread, torn into pieces
1 small white or red onion, finely chopped
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to pass at table
Heat a large Dutch oven with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add fennel, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaf, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary and sage. Saut 15 minutes to develop flavors and color.
Stir in tomato paste, cook for 30 seconds, then add wine and let it evaporate, about 1 minute. Add beans and greens, and season with a little nutmeg. Add stock, water and the cheese rind. Reduce heat to medium and cook at a low, rolling boil, about 10 minutes.
Add bread pieces to soup and stir a few minutes to break it up. The ribollita is done when a wooden spoon can stand straight up in the soup.
To serve, ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with a generous drizzle of EVOO, finely chopped raw onion and cheese.