A Time-Tested Favorite
This recipe hearkens from an old Italian cookbook that I’ve carried with me since my college days. Called Ribollitta, this hearty white bean soup originates from the hilltop villages of Tuscany. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages. The cookbook’s author noted that she liked to toss an old rind of parmesan into the broth to lend depth and flavor. It’s a twist that I haven’t seen in more recent renditions of the recipe—and it’s an excellent suggestion. I also like to add a splash of soy sauce to, just enough to provide a delicious back note of umami. Packed full of leafy kale and topped with parmesan shavings, this soup pairs beautifully with our Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay. The two are marvelous on a cold winter’s day. — Christine Havens
4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch dice
1 large sweet or yellow onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, bias cut
3 medium carrots, bias cut
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 14-ounce cans white cannellini beans
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
a generously sized parmesan rind
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1. bunch Lacinato kale, chopped with stems removed
a dash of soy sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh parsley for garnish, if desired
parmesan shavings for garnish, if desired
Heat a large Dutch oven or pot to medium, then sauté the pancetta until the fat is rendered, and the pancetta is lightly browned and crisp. Stir in the onion, carrot, and celery along with a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are translucent and the celery and carrot have softened. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two, until fragrant.
Add the cannellini beans along with the liquid (how much liquid you add is a personal choice, for this recipe, I used around half the liquid in each can.) Add the chicken stock, thyme leaves, and parmesan rind, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for around 45 minutes or until the beans are tender.
Add a dash of soy sauce then add fresh sea salt and black pepper to taste. I find that the pancetta and soy sauce contributes quite a bit of saltiness, so I like to adjust seasonings at the end.
Lastly, stir in the kale. Allow it to simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes before serving.
Garnish with parsley and parmesan shavings and serve with a glass of Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay and a hunk of crusty bread.