Tuscan Ribollita

 

Garnish with: parmesan, croutons

 

This soup is incredible. It’s kinda like minestrone, but way better, what you always wanted minestrone to be but it never was. But it’s a massive pain in the ass. The recipe I worked off of was delicious but had a bunch of issues I’ve tried to solve here. Mainly, the beans DID. NOT. GET.SOFT. So I am having us cook them in advance and add them in when they are mostly cooked, along with some reserved cooking liquid. If this makes you crazy, talk to me. We may try canned for round 2.  

 

Ribollita means “reboiled.”  Supposedly this was heartier soup made with yesterdays soup reboiled with bread to make it thicker and obvi way better. It uses rinds and stems and old bread—throwaway bits to modern cooks that make this amazing and that people used to hang onto, extracting every bit of deliciousness out of everything. This soup is old—back to the middle ages old. Part of the tradition of “cucina povera” (literally poor kitchen), in other words, peasant food. In other words, yummy.   

 

Ingredients:

For Beans (Step 1 & 2)

3 lbs dry cannellini or white kidney beans (or other white bean)

 

For Sofritto  (Step 3) [pay attention to size of dice in sofritto vs. rest of soup]

6 carrots, very finely diced (if gargantuan, use only 5)

9 celery stalks, very finely diced

3  yellow onions, very finely diced

½ cup canola oil

2 TB salt

 

For Soup (Step 4)

2 TB XVOO

45 (yeah, holy shit) CLOVES GARLIC, minced (can use robot coupe!)

2 TB red chile flakes

6 carrots, medium diced (If they are huge, use only 5)

3 yellow onions, medium diced

9 celery stalks, medium diced

3 bunches kale—stalks medium diced, leaves rough chopped, divided

6 cups dry white wine (1.5 bottles)

84 oz CRUSHED san Marzano tomatoes (or pulse whole tomatoes in blender—do not use diced)

(this is about one #10 can)

18 oz of PARMESAN RIND (cut off or reserve rind from the wheel)

9 quarts chicken stock

3 bay leaves

12 slices of our sourdough bread, CRUSTS REMOVED, cut into cubes

1 TB salt + to taste

Black Pepper

 

Step 1: Soak Beans

Put beans in pot, cover with water, bring to boil.  Soon as it comes to boil, turn off, cover with lid, and let sit overnight.  

 

Step 2: Parcook Beans

In morning, rinse beans, then put in pot, cover with water, add 1 TB salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered with some sort of lid (why do none of our pots have lids? Use sheet pan) for about 1 hour, while you cook sofritto. When just tender, strain, and reserve beans along with 2 CUPS BEAN COOKING LIQUID. 

 

Step 3: Make sofritto, the base of the soup’s flavor

Use the soup pot that has the widest base that we have. Shorter and fatter/wider better than tall and thin.

 

Heat pan to medium, add oil. Add your finely diced carrots, celery, onions to pan, stir to coat with oil. Season with salt. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook low and slow, stirring frequently, until you have a carmellized, light to golden brown mirepoix—ABOUT 1 HOUR. Continue to lower heat so it doesn’t burn. Should look like this:

  

Step 4: Assemble Soup

Into your soup pot with carmellized sofritto, add IF NECESSARY splash of XVOO if pan seems dry (which it did to me). Then add all that minced garlic and red chile flakes, and saute for about four or five minutes, stirring and careful not to burn garlic. 

 

Then add medium diced mireopoix—celery, onions, carrots—along with diced KALE STEMS. Add Sweat in pan for five to ten minutes.  

 

Add white wine to deglaze pan, scraping up flavorful brown bits with a spatula. Let alcohol boil off for five to ten minutes. 

 

Add crushed tomatoes. Cook down to consistency of a thick porridge or jam (five to ten mins). Like this: 

 

THEN: Add cooked white beans, chicken stock, reserved bean cooking liquid, bread cubes, parmesan rinds, bay leaves. Stir it all to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce to a low simmer (simmer means simmer, not hard boiling, dammit!) THEN COOK THAT SHIT low and slow FOR 1.5 to 2 HOURS.  Stir frequently so the parmesan doesn’t stick to bottom of pan and burn.  

 

THIS IS A REAL THING. THE PARMESAN  RINDS TOTALLY NEEDS TO BE STIRRED OCCASIONALLY OR IT STICKS TO BOTTOM AND BURNS. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU LIKE IT DID TO ME.  

 

When beans are tender, bread is dissolved, broth is thick and delicious (it really is delicious)—add rough chopped kale leaves and let soften.  And you’re done.  Add some pepper.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Add lemon juice if it needs some acid but mine didn’t.  Oh yeah, fish out parm rinds and bay leaves if you can.

 

If you have big old chunks of bread, you didn’t cook it long enough—these soften and dissolve, thickening soup. 

 

Directions:
Combine water, ginger, scallions, and kombu in a pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Right when the broth comes to a boil, remove the kombu and lower heat to medium and add bonito flakes. Bring back up to a boil, then turn off heat. Add soy sauce and mirin and let steep for 15 minutes.
 

While dashi steeps, bring a separate pot of water to a boil, add whole eggs, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and run under cold water. Peel, cut eggs in half, and reserve. These should not be hardboiled egg but softish boiled. 
 

Cook dried soba noodles according to the instructions on the package rinse under cold water and reserve.
 

Once ready strain dashi with strainer into large Cambro. Once strained, put dashi back into the pot over medium heat. Check salt and adjust as needed. Add bok choy and dried mushrooms and bring back to a boil. Once soup has reached a boil, drop to a simmer until mushrooms are cooked (about 7-10 minutes).
 

To serve:
Serve over soba noodles
Scallions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds
¼ soft boiled egg for a cup
½ soft boiled egg for a bowl
Maybe have soy and hot sauce available if guests request it?