I just want love in a bowl.  I want healing in a spoon.  I want all my vitamins in a single dish supper.  You can’t beat Ribollita for this.  Don’t pay any attention to the name which is anything but appetizing and will only make you feel like a geriatric before your time.  (ribollita=reboiled).  You will need a few teeth to eat my version, but if you are missing them, you could just puree the lot and be sure that the bread is fully soaked with the liquid before digging in.



Sauté together, one bunch of flat leaf parsley, one bunch of celery, 1 medium sized carrot, 3 medium sized red onions, and a sprig of thyme, with salt and pepper, until the vegetables are soft.  Add one 28 oz. can of whole plum tomatoes from Italy, that you squish with your hand,to break up, as you put them in the pan.  Cook these together for about thirty minutes, over a low to medium flame.  Add about 4 pounds of swiss chard, which you can either throw right into the pot after washing and chopping it (remove the stems and blanch them for munching on the side with a drizzle of olive oil), or you can lightly sauté it first in a little olive oil and garlic before combining with the tomato mixture.  

(Cook 1 1/2 cups of beans with thyme, garlic, olive oil, and salt, after soaking). 

Add one cup of cooked cannellini beans, and cook for another half an hour.  Puree another cup of cannellini beans, til they are not quite smooth, and stir into the soup.  Cube and toast a rustic loaf of bread in the oven, and then drizzle them with your best olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Drop the croutons into the soup, while it is still in the pan, or into individual bowls.  Grate freshly grated parmesan as it is being served, and drizzle with a little more–absolutely best and new if you have it–olive oil.  Add a little more cooking liquid from the beans if you like, but the soup should be quite thick.  In Italy it can be practically no liquid at all, just soaked bread, but I like it a little soupy.

The success of this soup is fantastic bread, beautiful Parmigiano Reggiano and best quality olive oil from the last pressing.  Do what you can.

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