Here’s the more formally written recipe for the ribollita I made yesterday. Even if you think a cabbage soup with beans and soggy bread sounds weird, I encourage you to give it a try. It might surprise you.
My own recipe, adapted a long time ago from this recipe
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 glass warm water
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped (optional)
- about 1/2 a medium cabbage, thick white parts removed, cut into strips
- a few handfuls fresh or frozen spinach or other dark leafy green (if fresh, cut into strips)
- 2 potatoes, thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 cans white (cannellini) beans
- 1 loaf crusty white bread (preferably stale), cut into cubes
1. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes.
2. When they’re soft, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste diluted in a glass of warm water. Add the finely chopped carrot, sliced potato, and celery (if using). Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, then add sliced cabbage (and fresh greens). Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-low heat.
3. Take one can of white beans and mash the contents (including the liquid) with a fork. If using frozen spinach, thaw it in the microwave and drain off some of the liquid. It’s not necessary to squeeze it out thoroughly. Add the mashed beans and thawed spinach to the pot about 30 minutes after the cabbage, then continue to cook for another 30 minutes.
4. If the bread being used is not dry or stale, spread it on a baking sheet and place it in a low-temperature oven for about 10 minutes.
5. Check the potatoes and cabbage for doneness. Add in the second can of beans, drained. The vegetables may need to cook for another 10 minutes or so.
6. When vegetables are well done, add the bread cubes to the pot, keeping it over low heat. Stir to incorporate and add more water if necessary. Allow the soup to sit for about five minutes, then remove from heat and serve. Drizzle olive oil and/or sprinkle grated cheese (such as Parmiggiano-Reggiano) over individual servings, if desired.