Last weekend, my friend Mark and I were working at one of my two community gardens. While I weeded and seeded, he pulled up the bricks around the plot, built up the ground with more sand and relaid the path. I’m so happy to have a garden helper who likes the building side of gardening.
As it happens when you’re gardening in a public area, someone stopped by to chat. I was picking last year’s chard and kale at the time and had just finished telling Mark about kale chips. He has not yet warmed to kale, but I figured the chips might tempt him to try it. The woman opened with, “Hey have you ever tried kale chips?” We laughed and brought her in on the joke, then moved on to other kale recipes. “Ribollita soup,” the woman said, “uses a ton of kale and it’s delicious.” I’d never heard of it, although it is apparently a famous Tuscan soup. She said she’d tuck a recipe in my compost bin next time she was walking by. But she made it sound so good, I decided to google it and give it a go that day. Glad I did. This is by far the best soup I’ve ever made. And certainly in the top five best soups I’ve ever tasted. So flavourful.
The recipe I used calls for diced Italian plum tomatoes, basil, carrots, garlic, celery, and those lovely white Italian beans – I used the cannellini but Great Northern are fine too. I left out the pancetta and used veggie broth instead of chicken, and substituted chard for the cabbage. There’s quite a lot of chopping, but it’s pretty easy to make. The pezzo forte is when you soak big chunks of sourdough in it, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Now that’s chow bella!