By now it’s no secret….I love gourds!
Who knew that pieces from Target’s Octavia Hill Collection would be just right for Christmas? I’m sure glad to have them because nothing else in the cabinets would have been quite right for the Santas.
December nights so far have been very cool, perfect for soups and stews. For some reason, my thoughts have turned to the bread soups I loved in Italy, and I have been experimenting with them. One was here, and tonight’s effort is more like the traditional ribollita. It is one you might want to try.
2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 c. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
4 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs each thyme, rosemary and sage
1/4-1/2 t. red pepper flakes
16 oz. kale, spinach or cabbage, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat half the olive oil in a soup pot; add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook gently for about 10 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic; cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add about 8 cups of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour.
Transfer 2-3 ladles of soup to a bowl and mash with back of a spoon. Add back to soup along with kale, spinach or cabbage. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add remaining olive oil.
To serve, toast thick slices of ciabatta or crusty Italian bread and rub with garlic. Put the bread in the bottom of a bowl and ladle the ribollita over it. Trickle a little olive oil over the top and serve with ample Parmesan cheese.
Now, here is what I have learned from experimenting. There’s lots of chopping. If you like doing it by hand, great, otherwise use a blender or food processor. A generous portion of Italian seasoning can be substituted if you don’t have fresh herbs. The soup is actually better the next day, so let it cool and then refrigerate. When you are ready to serve it, reheat slowly adding the remaining olive oil at that time.
This is a very hearty and satisfying soup that can be a one dish meal or served with a simple green salad. Experiment with it and if you find something you really like, do let me know.
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