Ribollita's originates from Tuscan peasant food using re-heated minestrone or vegetable soup from the prior day — in Italian ribbolita literally means "reboiled". I found several different versions of this recipe but I wanted to try the one in my new "Best of HeartSmart Cooking" by Bonnie Stern, which may have just become my new favorite in the collection. Though the version I made was meatless it would be very easy to add some meat. Ina Garten includes 1/4 pound of diced pancetta in her recipe to be added with the onions. I think you could also put bacon or pancetta on top of the casserole before the final baking and just let the juices run down into the dish. That way you could split the base into two dishes and have one that was meatless and one that had meat, offering all in your life with options!
Couple of notes: This recipe says it makes 8 servings. The Other Half has a pretty healthy appetite and between the four of us we barely touched a third of the pan. This is very filling!
Wash your swiss shard very well and then cut out the tough rib from the center, much like you do the core of the cabbage. It will make for a much nicer eating experience. Use fresh herbs - my battle cry I know, but oh, the taste - especially in something like this that cooks for a while.
I used zucchini per the recipe but will probably try green beans next time, or add the zucch later. It was a bit mushy for my taste.
Go to the bakery at your grocery store and ask if they have any day old bread. They will often give it to you for free or sell it to you at a discounted price.
Let me know what you think!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch, red pepper flakes
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 cups cabbage, cored and chopped
4 cup vegetable stock ( I used Kitchen Basics)
2-28 oz. cans plum tomatoes, with juice
2- 14 oz. can cannelini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch Swiss chard or rappini, rinsed, cored and chopped
1 cup macaroni or other dried soup pasta
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped
12 thick slices Italian bread (1 loaf sliced)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook gently for 5-8 minutes, until onions are tender.
Add carrots, celery, zucchini and cabbage. Cook for about 5 minutes to wilt vegetable slightly.
Add stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a fork on the side of the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add beans, swiss chard and pasta and cook for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then basil. Stir.
Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with half of the bread slice and spoon half the mixture on top. Sprinkle with half the cheese then repeat layers. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbling.