This simple, hearty vegetable soup is a perfect one-pot meal.
Serves 8-10Print this recipe
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
8 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium celery ribs, trimmed and sliced finely
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
4 cups rich chicken stock
3 cups water
Parmesan rind, 1 medium piece or more if you like
1 bunch Lactina kale, sliced in 1/2-inch strips (about 5 packed cups)
6 cups cooked cranberry beans, about 1 pound dry
6 cups divided day or two old artisan bread, cubed and lightly toasted
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
1 cup grated Parmesan for sprinkling
Heat a 5 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and then the pancetta. Cook the pancetta until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat if the pan gets too hot and starts to smoke. Remove the pan from the heat and drain off the excess fat, but leave enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.
Place the pan back on medium high heat and add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the tomato puree and white wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf, stock and water. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the Parmesan rind and simmer for 40 minutes until the vegetables are meltingly tender.
Add the kale, beans and 3 cups of bread. Cook for another 30 minutes until the kale is tender. Stir occasionally to keep the soup from scorching on the bottom of the pan and to "melt" the cubes of bread into the soup to thicken. Thin the soup with a little water if it becomes too reduced and thick.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and fold in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan. Add the remaining 3 cups of bread to the leftover soup if making fried soup the next day, otherwise reserve for another use.
You must make this leftover dish after a meal of Ribollita. It is a completely different and delicious experience. It can be eaten on its own or served as a side dish for grilled sausages, roasted pork and chicken.
Extra virgin olive oil
Per serving, heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and one six-ounce ladle of soup. Press the soup to flatten into a patty. Cook over medium heat until the soup is crusty and golden on one side. Flip and continue to cook until the other side is golden. Slide onto a plate and top with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.