"Ribollita is a really thick minestrone, but with toasted bread stirred into it," Rach says about the Italian classic. "This soup is so versatile and it's literally about cleaning out your pantry and your fridge, and turning it into an insanely delicious meal."
- 2 cups dried beans, borlotti or cannellini, soaked overnight or several hours or 1 hour in boiling water, or two 15-ounce cans beans, omit method and ingredients for dried
- 1 large onion, halved
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 quarts stock, beef and chicken or chicken and vegetable or all vegetable (plus 2 cups water, if using canned beans—use reserved starchy water from cooking dried beans otherwise)
- 1 chunk Parm rind, plus freshly grated to serve
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling at table
- ¼ pound meaty pancetta, finely chopped (optional and omit for vegetarian preparation)
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bunch stemmed chard or rainbow chard, stems finely chopped and leaves shredded or chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1 bundle sage and thyme, tied with kitchen string
- 2 cups semi-dried tomatoes or sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- ½ cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges and thinly sliced
- Grated nutmeg, to taste
- Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- ½ loaf stale peasant-style bread, torn into small pieces
- Finely chopped white onion, to pass at table
If using dried beans, rinse soaked beans. Bring a pot of water, 4 quarts, to a boil, add the beans, a generous seasoning of salt to the water, the halved onion and bay leaves, and cook at low rolling boil to tender, drain, reserving 2 cups starchy liquid.
For the soup, in a medium pot, heat porcini, stock and Parm rind over medium heat then keep warm.
Heat a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, and pancetta if using and stir 2 to 3 minutes, add parsnips, carrots, fennel, onion, chopped chard stems, salt and pepper, soften a bit, add garlic and herb bundle and tomatoes. Wilt in greens, add cabbage, cover to smother and season with nutmeg and red pepper, if using.
Remove softened and plumped mushrooms and chop, add to vegetables, then add all but last ⅓ cup of mushroom stock, where grit may have settled, add beans and 2 cups starchy cooking liquid or water. Bring to boil, simmer until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and scatter bread onto it, toast to deeply browned and fragrant.
To serve, stir bread into soup and top with cheese, onion, EVOO.