Quite possibly the ultimate comfort food dish.
Prep: 24 hours 25 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
for the basic tomato sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce|1588 gram) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
kosher salt, to taste
for the ribollita:
8 ounces dried white cannellini or brown borlotti beans, soaked overnight
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch half moons
2 ribs celery, chopped into 1/4-inch thick pieces
2 waxy potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups reserved bean liquid
1 cup basic tomato sauce
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped into 1/2-inch ribbons
1 bunch kale, chopped into 1/2-inch ribbons
1 bunch black cabbage (cavolo nero), chopped into 1/2-inch ribbons
4 slices country bread
hot pepper flakes, for garnish
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1. Make the basic pasta sauce: In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and the yellow onion, and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
2. Make the ribollita: Place the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until soft, 50-55 minutes. Strain, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid and the beans, separately.
3. In a large 8-quart soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, 2 cups of beans, 4 cups of bean cooking liquid, and basic tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and add the chard, kale, and black cabbage. Cook until everything is soft, about 1-1/2 hours.
5. Add the remaining beans and simmer for 20 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the ribollita to cool and then refrigerate it overnight.
6. The following day, bring the ribollita to a boil and simmer until thick.
7. Heat a grill pan over high and drizzle the bread with oil. Grill the bread, flipping ones, until charred on both sides. Rub with the garlic and place a slice of toast in each shallow bowl. Grate parmesan over the top of each piece of toast, then ladle the soup over the toast. Drizzle joyously with olive oil, sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, and pass the parmesan at the table.