With the increase in cold days and the grey skies promising (threatening?) damp weather, soup is on the menu a lot in our house. Soup is great, not just because it’s delicious, filling, and can be made fairly easily with most ingredients that you have on hand, but you can really make it as versatile as you’d like. I can barely recall at this point what I was originally thinking of making when I started this ribollita, but I think it was in more in the traditional vegetable soup realm. As I went through the ingredients in pantry and fridge, it sort of morphed into more of an I want to make an Italian-style vegetable soup in my brain. Now, my husband will tell you, this is no unusual occurrence. I often walk around with thoughts of food floating in my brain, and will sometimes burst into avid discussions about the merits of slow-roasting beets, the ratio of whole grains to whole wheat and white flours in bread baking, or why I really NEED to get another kitchen accessory to enhance my existence…or some such nonsense. But this particular morning, my little toddler playing happily (messily) at my feet, I had no one to listen. So turning to my trusty laptop, I pulled up whatever recipes I could find that had an “Italian vegetable soup but specifically vegetarian and hopefully with kale and some of the beans and lentils I was wanting to use” feel to it. And ~ I kid you not (I do not kid about food), I found this. Which led to this, (of course Heidi had done a riff on a delicious soup like ribollita), though I am somewhat relieved to note that my soup was well on its way to being done by the time I saw her version. One note, we added torn bread and parmesan to ours after it cooked, and I’m sure someone would have my neck for not sticking to the traditional recipe. Thank goodness they weren’t invited for dinner.
2 tbsp olive oil 3 medium onions, diced 6 carrots, sliced into rounds 5 celery ribs 28 oz/6 medium red potatoes, diced 1 oz sundried tomatoes, (½ cup reconstituted) 12 cups/6 qts vegetable stock 3 oz tomato paste 1 tsp thyme 1 tsp oregano ½ tsp basil 2 ½ cups cooked navy beans 1 cup yellow split peas, washed 4 large handfuls of baby kale or greens, washed 1 10 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium low heat, and once warmed, add onions to saute until they are golden and soft. While onions are cooking, slice carrots into rounds and celery into half moons. Add to onions and allow to simmer until fragrant and softening, about five minutes. While the celery and carrots are simmering, cut potatoes into smallish cubes, and wash the split peas and kale. You can substitute any hardier green for the kale, but if it’s large-leafed, cut into smaller pieces and remove stems, if needed. After the celery/carrot mixture has finished simmering, add the stock along with the carrots, tomato paste, split peas, and spices. Allow soup to simmer on medium heat until carrots, potatoes, and split peas are mostly done. At this time add the navy beans and handfuls of kale, as well as the bag of mixed veggies if so desired. Allow to simmer up to thirty minutes or so, tasting periodically to see if the ingredients are ready. Once the soup is ready, scoop into bowls, garnish with red pepper, bread chunks or croutons, and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!