Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ribollita - Italian Vegetable Soup

I made this for the first time last night for our Anniversary Dinner. It was wonderful - 5 stars!! I got it from the Williams Sonoma Italian Cookbook - enjoy!

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8

1 15 oz. can Cannellini beans
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 zucchini - sliced and halved
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 cup cauliflower, coarsely chopped
4 - 5 kale leaves (they recommended dinosaur kale)
1 cup shredded swiss chard leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs: italian parsley, rosemary and sage
2.5 quarts chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 - 15 slices day old coarse country bread with crusts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Drain beans and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute' until the onion is golden, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, chard, zucchini and potato (in that order) and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Add the mixed herbs and the beans to the pot. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to tast with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Ladle enough soup into a 13 x 9 baking dish to cover the bottom. Top with 4 - 5 toasted bread slices, trimming them to fit if necessary, and then with a layer of soup. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers of bread, soup and cheese. Bake until heated through about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with olive oil.

Ladle the ribollita into warmed soup bowls and serve.

IMPORTANT NOTE: After making this last night I think I would make one change...spread olive oil on bread and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place under broiler until browned and cheese melts. Place one or two slices in individual bowls and ladle hot soup over - serve immediately. (If anyone tries this recipe with this revision, please let us know if it works.)

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