Since the day I watched the presumed-dead-but-very-much-alive Emily Sloane preparing it for dinner in a remote Tuscan villa, ribollita has seemed like a very romantic dish to me. I have a soft spot for peasant-style fare anyway, and what could be cozier than sharing a dish based on beans, bread and hearty greens with your (hopefully not evil) beau?
Maybe it captures my fancy since it isn’t really ribollita until the soup itself is on its third day, reheated or “reboiled” with bread, leading a girl to wonder what distractions led to the soup not getting eaten on day one or two… a little too much wine and canoodling in front of the fire, perhaps?
In any event, when the weather turns cold and I’m looking for ideas for hearty meatless dinners, my thoughts often turn to ribollita, but my soup never quite makes it to that third day. It’s funny how a soup so simple, a mixture of onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips, beans, tomato paste, kale, herbs and water, a combination you wouldn’t think would taste like much, can turn into something so sublime. Sure, a parmesan rind in the soup helps, as does a liberal slather of pesto on top of crusty peasant bread in the bottom of the bowl, but really, the earthy beans and kale are the stars of the show. For such a substantial and hearty soup, it’s amazing how quickly and easily it goes down, dashing my hopes for a proper reboiled version.
Maybe we just need a fireplace.