Ribbolita: Tuscan Bread and Bean Soup
Yield: 6 portions
Garlic cloves, peeled, divided
Celery stalks, chunked
Carrots, peeled, chunked
Onion, peeled, chunked
Leek, white part only
Extra-virgin olive oil
Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into chiffonade
Swiss chard stemmed and cut into chiffonade
Black pepper, freshly ground
Country bread loaf, day-old, crust removed
- Cover the beans with water and soak them overnight. Cook the beans with the bay leaves and 2 of the garlic cloves until they are soft, about 1 hour. Strain them, reserving 1 cup of the liquid to add to the soup.
- In a food processor, shred the remaining 2 cloves of garlic with the celery, carrot, onion, and leek until very fine; still with tiny pieces of the vegetables, not a purée.
- Sauté the vegetables in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil on medium-low heat, about 10 minutes, or until it is fragrant and slightly colored.
- Add the cooked beans and the 1 cup cooking water, cabbage, chard, and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately one hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Crumble the stale bread into small chunks and place a handful of the bread in each bowl. Ladle the soup over it and let it sit for a few minutes for the bread to soften and the broth to be absorbed. Finish each bowl with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Note: In place of cranberry beans, you may use pinto beans, they are both tender, mealy brown beans whose spots disappear when cooked.