This is a bowlful of comfort. At my dinner party last weekend, I made beef stew in the crock-pot for eight hours and this vegetarian option on the stove in about one. It's called ribollita, a Tuscan soup that contains beans, veggies and bread in all sorts of variations. It translates to "reboiled" in English because it comes from taking leftovers from the day before and serving them again. It's hearty and delicious, perfect comfort food on a chilly fall evening.
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa, simplified and made vegetarian
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
4 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
6 cups vegetable stock
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Heat the oil and butter in a large stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to get tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Rinse and drain the beans. In a food processor, puree half of the beans (one 15-ounce can) with 1/2 a cup of water. Add the pureed beans to the pot, along with the remaining whole beans. Add 6 cups of vegetable stock and one cup of water to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Add the bread cubes to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste and season if necessary and serve hot in bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.