Tuesday, January 11, 2011

White Bean & Kale Ribollita

Did you know it's National Soup Month? If you read as many food sites as I do, than you are well aware. I've been finding some great new recipes, which is awesome, because soup is all I want to cook these days. If you're in need of ideas, check out all the posts from soup week at thekitchn.com (I found tons of great recipes and links here!), Soupchick.com's hot soup category, this round up at Words to Eat By, and Bon Appetit's soup slide show.

I have quite a few soup recipes coming as well, beginning with this Italian favorite. First, I did not set out to make ribollita; it was sort of a happy accident. This satisfying soup--made ultra-thick by cooking up dried beans and then pureeing a good scoop of them--comes close enough to take on the name.

Ribollita is most often thickened with leftover bread, and may or may not include pasta. I used pasta and no bread, and had no problems getting a soup that was thick enough to stand a spoon in after resting in the fridge overnight.

White Bean and Kale Ribollita
You can soak the beans overnight or do the quick-soak method: Cover beans with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 10 minutes. Cover pot, turn off heat and soak 1 hour; rinse and drain. A parmesan rind adds umami and another tasty flavor dimension to the soup. If you don't want to go that route, grate plenty of good Parmigiano over each bowl when serving.

Serves 6

1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 tsp EACH dried oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil
1 tsp ancho chile powder (or other mild chile powder)
red chile flakes to taste
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs tomato paste
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups water, plus additional as needed
1 lb great northern beans, soaked, rinsed and drained
2 dried bay leaves
Parmesan rind, about 2 x 3 inches
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
8 oz small whole wheat pasta, such as corkscrews, ditalini or elbows
1 lb kale, thick stems removed, chopped
For serving: lemon wedges, toasted pine nuts, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the oil on medium-high. Add onion, carrot, dried herbs and chile powder. Cook until onion is tender and just lightly browned. Add chile flakes, garlic and tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring well.

Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Add beans, parmesan rind and bay leaves, and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the liquid gets too low, add additional water.

Ladle about 1 1/2 cups into a blender and puree (be careful when blending hot liquid). Return to pot. Add tomatoes and bring soup up to a boil. Now, you need to make sure there is enough liquid for the pasta to cook in; you may need another couple cups. When soup is boiling, add pasta and kale. Cover pot to quickly wilt kale, adding it in two batches if necessary. Simmer until pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste and discard bay leaves and rind. Serve with accompaniments. This soup makes great leftovers and will thicken a lot in the refrigerator--thin with water or broth as desired.

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

This sounds like a nice hearty, healthy soup, great for a cold winter day.