Brrrr ... Baby, it's cold outside...unseasonably cold! Last night it got down to 11°! But I'm not complaining because it's been sunny and dry, which is also quite uncharacteristic for this time of year.
I can think of no meal more warming and satisfying on a wintry day than a big bowl of ribollita. The word ribollita literally means "reboiled," and it's a hearty, classic soup from Tuscany. Like most Tuscan cuisine, the soup has peasant origins and was originally made by reboiling leftover minestrone from the previous day and pouring it over remnant chunks of bread.
There are many variations of course, but the main ingredients include cannellini beans, and inexpensive vegetables such as carrot, spinach, onion, tomatoes, cavalo nero (black Tuscan kale), and of course, bread. These days the broth is often made from chicken or beef stock, doused in olive oil and sprinkled generously with Parmesan cheese. I was fortunate on my first trip to Italy many years ago to dine at the only vegetarian restaurant in Florence at the time, Il Sedano Allegro. It was there that I tasted my first bowl of ribollita, and fell helplessly in love with it.
One of my favorite vegan chefs and cookbook authors, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau prepared her vegan Three-Greens Ribollita Soup for the McDougall Celebrity Chef Weekend back in June of this year. I followed the recipe precisely, except I noticed the absence of tomatoes in the ingredients list (probably a typo), so I added a 14-oz can of diced tomatoes. The soup was nicely thickened, and tasted phenomenal with hunks of lightly toasted French bread. I can't wait to have it again for lunch today! Of course, I'll be reboiling it.