"Hooked on a classic! Ribollita translates to 'boil again' and refers to reheating beans and greens soup with some stale bread," Rach explains. "Then, often the day after the ribollita was served, the leftover bread and bean soup—now very thick—is fried in olive oil and topped with a fried or poached egg and served a third time."
"It’s best to start the dish a few days out: I soak my beans overnight, then rinse and cook the next day separate from the soup, but I prepare the soup and the beans a full day before I toast bread and add it to the soup. I toast my bread, which is nontraditional, but I love the nutty depth of flavor a few extra minutes to toast the bread adds to the dish."
- 1 ½ cups dry beans—I use a mix of borlotti and either white beans (cannellini) or chick peas (ceci)
- 1 onion, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 large fresh bay leaves
- About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped (or 2 medium onions)
- 1 leek, split lengthwise and washed, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
- A small bundle of rosemary and thyme, a few sprigs of each
- 1 bunch lacinato/cavalo nero kale, stemmed and chopped or sliced
- ½ head Savoy cabbage, chopped or sliced, (or 1 small head escarole, chopped)
- 1 small bunch Swiss Chard, stemmed and chopped or sliced
- About ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 quarts chicken stock or beef stock or bone stock
- One 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, or 2 vine tomatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1 chunk of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ½- to ¾- pound stale peasant or whole wheat peasant bread, torn into pieces
- Chopped white onion, raw
- Fruity EVOO, for drizzling
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the beans: Soak the beans overnight. Rinse and place in pot and cover by about 3 inches with water. Add onion, garlic, bay, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, salt beans liberally and cook 40-50 minutes to tender. Remove onion, garlic and bay, and reserve beans and what is left of cooking liquid.
For the soup: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan. Add carrot, celery, onions, leek, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add herb bundle, partially cover and sweat the vegetables to soften 10 minutes, then add greens, wilting them in in stages, and season with a little freshly grated nutmeg. Add stock, tomatoes, and rind and simmer 45 minutes, then cool and store.
Reheat the soup over moderate heat and combine with the beans and their liquid.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Arrange the bread on tray and bake to deeply golden brown.
Stir the bread into the soup. When soup is thick enough for spoon to stand upright, it’s done.
Serve soup in bowls topped with raw onion, EVOO and cheese.