Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Thick and enriched with a drizzle of good olive oil, ribollita hovers somewhere between a soup and a vegetable stew. One night I topped each serving with a runny poached egg, and a new one-dish meal was born in our house. Serve as a satisfying main, or skip the egg and get up to 10 servings for a first course.
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes or until toasted.
3. Bring 2 cups water, cabbage, and kale to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 20 minutes or until cabbage mixture is wilted and tender. Drain.
4. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add pancetta; cook 6 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon oil, onion, carrot, celery, and parsley to pan; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add potatoes; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cabbage mixture, salt, and red pepper; cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 cups water, stock, tomato puree, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, partially covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in bread cubes; cook 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in 1/4 cup basil.
5. Add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add vinegar. Break each egg into a custard cup, and pour each gently into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon. Divide soup among 8 bowls. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon oil over each serving.