Fans of hearty soups, you are going to love this one! It’s a variety of vegetables cooked together and then baked with bread and lots of cheese.
As you might have noticed by now I love Italian food! Just like millions of people. With so many pizza and pasta recipes out there, I wanted to find something more unusual to blog about. So, I got very excited when I came across this soup recipe in one of my Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. It is a bread and vegetable soup that’s baked with Parmesan cheese! Sounds crazy but it’s delicious! Hearty greens cooked with vegetables, beans and herbs in a very flavorful broth. Then the soup is layered in an oven safe dish with bread and Parmesan cheese. Everything is baked in the oven until the top layer of cheese melts and the bread turns golden.
Ribollita, a Tuscan soup, is usually made with cavolo nero, a black cabbage. I wasn’t able to find it here so instead I used dinosaur kale. Cauliflower, Swiss chard, carrots, cannellini beans, zucchini, potatoes, celery and onion are also part of this hearty soup.
Start making the soup by chopping the vegetables. Heat up a bit of olive oil in a large soup pot and add onion, carrots and celery. After 5 minutes, add the cauliflower florets and cook everything another 5 minutes. Next, add chopped kale, chard, zucchini and potato. Again, cook 5 minutes.
When everything softens up a bit, add chopped herbs and beans. You can use either dry beans that were previously soaked and cooked or canned beans, rinsed and drained well. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, bring everything to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
Now it’s time to assemble the soup. Using a large baking dish, 9 x 13-inch preferably, transfer about 1/4th of the soup into the dish to cover the bottom. Add 3-4 bread slices on top and sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan cheese.
Repeat by adding a layer of soup, bread and cheese 2 more times.
Finish it off with a generous sprinkling of the Parmesan. Bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until heated through and the cheese on top is melted.
The soup is often served drizzled with olive oil but you can totally skip it to cut down the calories.
Serves: 6 Prep time: 30 minutes Ready in: 1hr 45 min
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2-3 medium carrots, diced
- 1-1.5 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets
- 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
- 2-3 leaves of Swiss chard, leaves and stems chopped
- 1 large potato, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary
- 1 (14 oz) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained or 1 cup of dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender, about 1.5 hrs
- 8-10 cups (2.5 qt) chicken or vegetable broth
- 9-12 slices of slightly stale white country bread
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt, pepper
- Chop the vegetables in the order of adding them: onion, celery, carrots, then cauliflower, kale, chard, potato and zucchini. Herbs would be added last.
- Heat up a large soup pot and add 1/4 cup olive oil. Add chopped onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 4 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and cook about 5 minutes then add chopped kale, chard, potato and zucchini at the same time. Saute another 5 minutes.
- Add freshly chopped herbs, beans and pour in the broth. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until all vegetables are soft. Adjust the seasonings.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Transfer about 1/4 of the soup into 9×13-inch baking dish. Place 3-4 bread slices on top and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Repeat the layers 2 times and use all of the remaining cheese on the top layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and cheese has melted. Serve!
Recipe slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma “Italian” cookbook.