Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 2: Ribollita con Verdure

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
4 slices pancetta (not smoked) or bacon (smoked), chopped
4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry red wine
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
6 cups beef stock or broth
4 cups chopped or torn stale bread
2 15- ounce cans small white beans, such as Goya brand
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese, to pass at the table
10 fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)

Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the 1 teaspoon EVOO and the pancetta or bacon. Render it for 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and return to the pot.

Add the garlic, three fourths of the onions, the carrots, and zucchini and season with salt and pepper.

Saute for 7 to 8 minutes, then add the wine and deglaze the pot. Stir in the diced tomatoes and beef stock and bring up the heat.

When the soup boils, reduce to a simmer and stir in the bread and beans. Pile the greens into the pot and wilt them into the soup.

Simmer the ribollita for 5 minutes. Ladle into shallow bowls and top with EVOO, cheese, and the remaining raw onions. The basil, and only the basil, is an optional garnish.


This soup, which I think means "stale bread soup with vegetables," is a variation on Papa al Pomodoro. I like it much better, but I still get hung up on the soggy bread in the soup. It has a sort-of makes-you-want-to-gag consistency. But it's not in every bite, so it's tolerable. I love everything else about this soup. I love the flavors of the bacon, beef stock, and red wine together, I love the vegetables, and I love the toppings. I changed the amount of oil from 3 tablespoons to 1 teaspoon. I don't even think you need that much because of the fat in the bacon. I also added to drain the bacon fat after it is rendered. I drained the beans, although the recipe didn't say to do that. For just about everything else, I did as the recipe said. If you're debating, I think it's worth trying at least once. It might even be good without the bread all together (but then it shouldn't be called "stale bread soup").


  1. Glad to see Leah smiling. :) Grandma

  2. For Mobile, it is a nasty, cold, wintery day. We haven't made it out of the 30's for two days. It started raining just before dark yesterday and hasn't really stopped.

    I say all that to say that this soup looks really good right now. I may have to stop on the way home and pick up the ingredients to make it.

    You are doing GREAT with this blog, by the way. I really enjoy reading it.

  3. I'm glad you read it. Makes it seem worthwhile. I do enjoy doing it, though. I hope you liked the soup. For the leftovers, I picked out all the chunks of bread and just ate it without them. It was very good that way. The bread gave it a little thickness without all the soggy chunks. Let me know what you thought.