Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
- 1 pound (500 g) dried white beans, washed and soaked for three hours
- A small onion, a small carrot, a six inch stick of celery, and a small bunch of parsley, minced together
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound (500 g) cavolo nero (black-leaf kale in English), shredded
- 1 pound (500 g) beet greens, ribbed and shredded
- 1/2 pound (250 g) potatoes, peeled and diced
- Salt, pepper, and a sprig of thyme
- Thinly sliced day old crusty Italian or French white bread
- Olive oil (to be used at the table)
Served immediately, this dish is called minestra di pane, or bread soup. However, it improves dramatically with age, so much that when it’s reheated and served the next day it’s called ribollita, reboiled, and is one of the few reasons to get excited about the arrival of winter.
Reheating does require some care lest the minestra di pane burn: You will likely find that it has absorbed liquid as it rested overnight and looks rather dry. Add a little water, enough to moisten it, and heat it over a gentle flame, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. When it is bubbling hot it is ready.
Serve it as a first course, with a cruet of extra virgin olive oil so your diners can sprinkle it into their soup according to their taste. The wine? A light zesty red, for example a Chianti Colli Fiorentini would go well, as would a rosé.
Yield: 6 servings Ribollita or Minestra di Pane.