These colder and darker days are hitting me hard. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am in full hibernation mode waiting for this winter to hit. The moment I walk in the door I slide back into my slippers, and find myself counting down the minutes until I can get cozy under a blanket on our couch. I am normally one who loves to be on the go, but not these days. All I want to do is hibernate, binge watch some horrible Bravo show and eat nothing but warm comfort food.
This week my go-to comfort food has been soup. I can’t stop making them. My poor dutch oven has had more work this week then she’s seen in months. This week alone I’ve made a butternut squash bisque, a parmesan chicken noodle for the kids, roasted cauliflower, and now my new favorite ribollita (bread and soup jackpot). If you’ve never had ribolilita – it’s the food equivalent of your favorite chunky sweater and oversized sweatpants.
Ribollita is a tuscan peasant food. Essentially yesterday’s minestrone soup, reheated and thickened with toasted buttery bread. I mean, come on. You have to admit that sounds ridiculous. It’s honestly better than wearing pajamas on your couch (or even better…..you could eat this, in your pajamas, on your couch. Sounds like heaven, right?).
I am not one who usually loves vegetable soups, especially a minestrone style. I find them to be a little bland. But not this one. The base is a mixture of sautéed onions, carrots, celery, a ton of garlic and red pepper flakes (can we just agree that red pepper flakes should go in EVERYTHING this winter?) melted together with butter and olive oil. From there I added a can of tomatoes, fresh thyme and rosemary, let the whole thing work together and thicken to create a deep rich base.
In this recipe I used my homemade chicken stock, which I honestly believe makes such a difference (you can find the recipe for that here). But let’s be honest, any chicken stock will do. I find that the largest difference is really in the texture. Most homemade chicken stocks are really gelatinous, which you can’t really replicate in a boxed stock. It gives the soup a rich silky mouthfeel. But if you don’t have your own stock, don’t sweat it. The soup will still be delicious.
I also used canned cannellini beans for this recipe. But by all means if you have dried beans at home, soak them overnight and use them in this recipes. Just increase the amount of liquid by a few cups.
Swiss chard is added for some extra color and texture. You could also use kale or any other green of your choice. I find that swiss chard is a little softer and milder than kale and works really well in this soup.
To finish it off, just add your favorite toasted buttery bread. I used a leftover baguette. But anything you have on hand works. Pour on a little parmesan cheese, ladle it in a big bowl and go get cozy on that couch. I’m right there with you (after I change into my sweatpants).
Stay warm friends!
- 3 tbs of butter
- 3 tbs of olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 carrots
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs of fresh romsemary
- 2 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 quart of good quality chicken stock
- 4-6 stalks of swiss chard, chopped
- 2-4 cups of cubed bread
- 1 cup of parmesean cheese
- In a food processor, pulse onion, celery, and carrots together until finely diced (or chop by hand)
- In a large dutch oven, over medium/low heat, melt butter and olive oil together
- Add finely diced vegetables to the pot and cook until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about one minute, careful not to burn garlic).
- In the same food processor, pulse crushed tomatoes until a smooth consistency. Add tomatoes to cooked vegetables.
- Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme and rosemary. Add herbs the tomato/vegetable mixture along with the red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to simmer and reduce (about 5 minutes).
- Once tomato and vegetable mixture has blended together, add chicken stock and beans. Bring soup to a simmer for 10-15 minutes
- Meanwhile, in a saute pan melt together 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium low heat. Add bread cubes. Toss together and cook over medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes (while soup is cooking) or until just lightly golden brown. Season bread cubes with salt/pepper (can also add red pepper flakes).
- Add swiss chard and parmesan cheese to the soup. Cook for an additional few minutes
- Season with salt/pepper
- To serve, ladle soup into individual serving bowls, add a handful of toasted bread, top with additional parmesan and enjoy!