Macrina Ribolitta

This marriage of vegetable soup and yesterday’s bread is a classic Tuscan combination.

Macrina Bakery is one of my favorite bakeries in Seattle. There is hardly an out-of-town visitor to our home that doesn’t get treated here, especially in SODO. They are famous for their bread but oh my, their pastries are to die for and I especially love their blueberry oatmeal.

Ribolitta is also one of my favorite soups, especially during these very cold days. When I saw her recipe, I had to share.

Ribolitta
with Seasoned Croutons
This marriage of vegetable soup and yesterday’s bread is a classic Tuscan combination. We like to make the dish into a meal by adding savory sausage and chicken.

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried cannelloni beans
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage links (chicken or pork)
4 thin slices pancetta (3 oz), diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced large
3 celery ribs, diced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1/2 small head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Seasoned Croutons (see recipe)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation:

Soak beans in water overnight.

Drain beans and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage links and cook until all sides are browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then cut links into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and pancetta in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Cook over medium heat until fat is rendered and pancetta is golden brown. Do not pour off the rendered fat. Add onion, carrot, fennel, celery, and parsnip. Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, cabbage, rosemary, and thyme, and cook
uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Add soaked beans, sausage, stock, chicken breast, red wine, and sherry vinegar, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until beans are fully cooked, adding more stock or water as needed. If foam gathers on the surface of the soup, remove it with a spoon. Remove chicken breast from soup and set aside until it is cool enough to touch. Shred cooled chicken with your hands and return pieces to soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide croutons among 4 soup bowls, reserving about 1/2 cup. Ladle soup over croutons and garnish each serving with a drizzle of good olive oil, some Italian parsley, and the reserved croutons.

Seasoned Croutons

We use a lot of these savory croutons at our cafes. They’re perfect for topping soups and salads, and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes 3 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely diced
3 cups white bread cubes (about 1/2 loaf), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and garlic and continue cooking just until garlic is heated through, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Place bread cubes in a medium bowl. Pour butter mixture and toss until bread cubes are evenly coated. Transfer cubes to rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any remaining butter from the bowl and scatter over the bread cubes. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until croutons are golden brown. Let cool and enjoy.

Macrina Bakery

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