It was my turn to host book club last month and I planned to make one of my crowd favorites–Greek salad and chicken kabobs, but an unplanned menu item–Ribollita* soup– turned out to be the surprise hit of the evening.
The night before our book club meeting I cooked a big batch of Ribollita, with plans to freeze it. I just happened to post this photo on Facebook and Instagram and one of my friends commented that it looked good and she hoped I would be serving it the next night. That wasn’t the plan, but when my friends showed up, it was on the stove if anyone wanted any.
To my surprise–everyone really liked it (maybe even more than the Greek salad and chicken kabobs) and asked for the recipe…so, fellow readers, here you go!
This is one of those soups that you can make up as you go. If you don’t have all these ingredients, don’t worry–add the veggies that you have in the fridge. And the best part–it makes great use of your stale bread.
*in case you’re wondering, ribollita means “reboiled” in Italian. It’s what you do with your day-old minestrone and stale bread.
- 2 or 3-15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed, divided
- 1-2 TBs olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 large stalks celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1-28 oz can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups coarsely chopped savoy cabbage, optional
- 4 cups coarsely chopped chard (or kale)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 6 + cups chicken broth
- 4 cups sourdough bread, cubed–toasted if it’s fresh
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until translucent.
- Add the garlic, carrots, celery, 1 TBS salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally.
- Add tomatoes, cabbage, chard (or kale) and basil. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 5 cups chicken broth, stir.
- With the remaining 1 cup chicken broth, add 1/2 can of cannelloni beans and use a hand held blender to puree. Stir in the mixture to the pot to help thicken the broth.
- Add the remaining beans and stir.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for at least 20 minutes–longer is better.
- Add the cubed bread to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve in warm bowls with Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
I like all of the La Brea breads–I used this one for the soup.
Next time you’re hosting book club, or just having friends over, this is sure to please.