Three Bean Ribollita
Any combination of beans can be used. However, it's best to select an assortment in the same size range to ensure even cooking. If you choose large beans, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped (2 medium cloves) garlic
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 ribs celery, strings removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dried great northern beans
- 3/4 cup dried rattlesnake beans
- 3/4 cup dried pinto beans
- 5 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 savoy cabbage (about 12 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 6 slices (1 inch thick) stale country-style bread (about 8 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Place bacon in a small stockpot, and place over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove bacon, and set aside. Add onions and garlic to hot bacon fat, and cook until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add northern, rattlesnake, and pinto beans, chicken stock, 5 1/2 cups water, and rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage, and simmer until beans are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Ten minutes before soup is done, stir in salt and reserved bacon.
Stir in bread, and simmer until bread has totally softened and just begins to break down, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve ribollita drizzled with a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.