This hearty, thick soup is filled with vegetables, beans and bread cubes that melt in to create a thick, stew-like consistency. Perfect for a cold day when you need something warming, and a great way to use up vegetables and bread in the Italian tradition. I started with a recipe from Ina Garten and adapted it to what we had in Italy. For a vegetarian or vegan version, use homemade vegetable broth and skip the pancetta or Prosciutto (or use it as a garnish). Leftovers are great and freeze well.
Keyword Bean, Italian, Ribollita, Soup, Vegetable
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 40minutes
Total Time 55minutes
Servings 6Yield 2 1/2 quarts
2tablespoonsolive oildivided use
1largeoniondiced, 2 cups
3-4largecloves garlicchopped fine
1cupdiced carrots2 large
1cupdiced celery2-3 ribs
1cupdiced fennel bulb1 medium bulb
1 1/2teaspoonsdried Italian herb blend
1/2teaspoon sea salt
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
1/4teaspoonred pepper flakes
4cupschopped kale5-6 large leaves without center ribs
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large heavy pot (5 1/2 quarts) over medium heat. Add Prosciutto and cook until crisped, 4-5 minutes. Remove Prosciutto from the pot and set aside to be added back later.
Add the rest of the oil to the pot and add the onion. Cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the carrots, celery and fennel and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the dried herbs, then stir in the kale, salt, and black and red pepper, cook 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, beans, broth and bread cubes. Turn heat up and bring soup to almost a boil, then put a lid on the pot and turn the heat to low. Add the Prosciutto back in and cook for another 15 minutes. Kale will be tender and bread cubes will melt into the soup. Remover lid, stir in basil, and serve. Ladle into bowls, top with Parmesan to serve if desired.
Recipe Notes: This soup is even better the next day. I like it very thick as we had it in Italy. If you want a more brothy soup, add more broth. Leftovers freeze well. To use dried beans start here: Soak 1/2 a pound of dried cannellini beans overnight in a large bowl or pot, covered with cold water to cover by several inches. Cover with plastic film or a lid and refrigerate overnight. If you forgot to soak the beans overnight, use the quick soak method, below. Quick Soak Bean Method: Rinse the beans in cold water, place them in a large, heavy pot (like a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) and cover with cold water by about 3″. Bring the beans to a boil and bowl for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Cover pot and remove from the heat. Allow beans to sit for an hour. The beans are ready to use as if they were soaked.To cook dried soaked beans: Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and continue simmering until beans are tender, about 15 minutes longer. Timing will depend on how old the beans are. Set the beans aside in their liquid to cool.