Ribollita means "reboiled" in Italian and historically, that is what this soup is. Yes, Italians love their bread, but it was actually added to soup to make it last longer. So this vegetable stew was made with inexpensive vegetables and beans (cannellini...larger than navy beans, but very creamy) and before there leftovers were reheated, old bread was added to thicken it.
Have you ever put good bread in soup? Not crackers, bread. Well, I hadn't and was skeptical, but it's amazing. The flavors of the whole wheat sourdough bread I used (not old) and the broth meld together wonderfully and while soggy bread (from a rogue tomato, etc) is disturbing and unpleasant, in soup it becomes delightful and exciting. I decided to put the bread in before each serving so it wouldn't break down too much in between and it created the perfect texture for me. The soup is good without the bread too, but once you try it with bread you won't be able to go back.
Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew)
How I Did It:
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/4 tsp ground sage
1 zucchini, chopped
15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
26 oz good quality diced tomatoes with liquid
32 oz low sodium vegetable broth
whole wheat sourdough bread
1. Cover the bottom of your soup pot with 1/4 inch or so of water and heat. Add in onion, garlic, carrots, parsnips, celery, and all of the spices. Heat on medium-low for about 20 minutes until everything has softened. Stir occasionally, adding small amounts of water as necessary.
2. Add in the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add in the beans, kale and then the diced tomatoes and broth, Stir well to submerge the kale. Lower heat, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
4. Rip one piece of bread per bowl into pieces (not too small). Serve the soup and then stir in the bread. Enjoy!