Perfect in the 5 1/2 qt. round French oven
Serves: 6 – 8
Ribollita is a hearty Tuscan stew that’s warm and comforting during the cold winter months.
- 3 slices smoked and cured bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)
- 1/2 pound fresh hot Italian sausage (pork or turkey), removed from casing, approximately 2 to 3 links
- 7 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (3 1/2 cups)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, diced small (2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper (chili flakes), or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 7 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, fire-roasted, if possible
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 (16-ounce) can white beans (great northern beans), drained and rinsed
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 bunch cavolo nero kale (also called dinosaur kale or black kale) or curly kale, leaves stripped and thick stems discarded, rinsed and chopped finely (5 packed cups)
- Homemade Crostini (toasted, sliced baguette seasoned with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
Add the bacon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the Le Creuset oven over medium-low heat. Cook for approximately 5 – 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off, and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.
Add onions, stir occasionally, and continue to cook until soft and translucent, 6 – 7 minutes.
Add the sausage, carrots, fennel, chili flakes, and a few good grinds of pepper and continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir in the tomato paste and garlic, and cook for 3 more minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, beans, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and kale.
Increase the heat to high until the soup starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
At this point, either go classic by adding the crostini to the soup, continuing to cook for 5 minutes, or simply serve the soup with the crostini on top so that the soup begins to soften the bread. Or serve the soup separately with the crostini on the side.