About this recipe:This classic soup is also known as ribollita (reboiled). Cannellini beans are simmered with inexpensive vegetables, herbs and bread, in a thick bean-based soup. It's then allowed to chill and re-boiled before serving.
375g dry cannellini beans
1 litre water
2.75 litres chicken stock
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
125ml olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large sticks celery, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
135g cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
12 (1.25cm thick) slices French stick/baguette, lightly toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
120g grated Parmesan cheese for topping
125ml olive oil
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Sort and rinse the beans before placing them in a large pot with the water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain.
Place the beans, chicken stock, garlic, sage leaves, bay leaves and salt in a large pot. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Cool. Remove 200g beans. Discard the bay leaves and sage leaves. Puree the remaining bean mixture in batches in a liquidiser/food processor or in the pot with a hand blender. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions; cook and stir until transparent, about 10 minutes. Combine the carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, Swiss chard and kale with the onions. Stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook until greens have wilted, stirring at least once, about 20 minutes. Stir in the pureed bean mixture and cook 40 minute until the mixture thickens. Stir in the reserved beans. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add the toasted bread slices; cook until bread is soaked, about 10 minutes longer. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
Reheat the soup over low heat until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve each serving garnished with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
If Swiss chard is unavailable, substitute in spinach.
For a quicker version of the soup, use tinned cannellini beans.