When I really want a little treat and a lot of comfort… I reach for one of my favorite cookbooks, The New Basics, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, and fire up some of this magnificent Ribollita. It is of course amazing in the summer when the vegetables are at their peak and I can buy fresh from our local farmers market, but this is truly a soup that is absolutely perfect any time of year. I first made it (as suggested in the book), paired with the authors’ Olive Rosemary Country Bread. It was such a divine experience, that I wouldn’t even consider not combining the two each and every time I’ve made it since. Which by the way…is a lot. Ribollita is a Tuscan soup that traditionally gets made a day or two ahead, then ribollita, or recooked. In other words…as fantastic as it is when you pull it from the oven… it only gets better over the next couple of days. What’s not to love about that? When you have a day, try both the bread and the Ribollita and let me know what you think. It promises to be a very special day.
I like to make a homemade chicken stock for this. You can do this a day ahead if you want.
Then start your Ribollita…
5 1/2 cups Chicken Stock or canned broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 ounces chicken wings
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks
2 cups chopped onioins
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
2 cups diced green cabbage
2 cups chopped cooked spinach
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can (16 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained
1 can (16 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained
7 very thin slices white bread (I use Pepperidge Farms ~Julie)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan combine the stock, wine, and chicken wings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain the stock, discarding the wings (or reserving them for another use), and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 5 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Add the leeks, onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until slightly wilted, 10 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and saute another 5 minutes. Then add the yellow squash, zucchini, and cabbage, adn cook another 10 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the spinach, oregano, salt and pepper, tomatoes, and kidney beans.
Cut the crusts off the bread and lightly toast the slices.
Spread half the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a large ovenproof casserole. Layer the toast next, and then top with the remaining vegetable mixture.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned. Spoon the garlic over the vegetables.
Add the reserved stock to the casserole, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve piping hot.