Delicious soup you cook twice



Lee Tillman from Santa Rosa, Calif., was looking for a recipe for an Italian vegetable and bread soup called "Ribollita" that she had when she was in Florence, Italy. Anne Brusca of Columbia sent in her recipe for Ribollita that she says is a specialty of Italy's Tuscany region.

The word means twice baked and is aptly applied to this dish because it is, in fact, cooked twice. Brusca says, "It is a lot of work to make but well worth the effort."

I would agree completely. The only change I made to her recipe was that I decided to prepare the soup one day and then bake it with the bread and cheese for the second time the following day. The end result was a marvelously thick and delicious one-pot meal, more like a stew than a soup.


Serves 8

5 cups chicken stock

1 pound chicken breasts, skinned

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil (divided use), plus more for garnish

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 cups cabbage, chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

two 14 1/2 -ounce cans chopped tomatoes, undrained

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 package frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

8 slices stale French or Italian bread

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided use), plus more for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock, chicken breasts and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and discard bay leaves. Dice meat and set aside. Keep stock warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat; cook chopped onion, garlic, celery and diced carrots for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining oil, diced green pepper, chopped cabbage, thyme and rosemary. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Add vegetables to stock in saucepan along with tomatoes and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach, parsley, zucchini, white beans and reserved diced chicken. Cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Remove 1 cup of soup and set aside.

Ladle half of the remaining soup into a large Dutch oven or casserole; cover with 4 of the bread slices and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Cover with remaining soup; layer with remaining bread. Drizzle reserved soup over top; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake covered in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes; uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Ladle into deep bowls. Garnish with drizzle of olive oil; sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 535 calories; 36 grams protein; 10 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 75 grams carbohydrate; 11 grams fiber; 45 milligrams cholesterol; 1,071 milligrams sodium

Recipe Requests

Peggy Bretel of Barnegat, N.J., is hoping someone will have a recipe that she has lost for Zucchini Moussaka that was in McCall's magazine in 1979.

Pat Albertson from Prineville, Ore., is wondering if anyone has a recipe that was on the back of Pillsbury cakes mixes in the early '70s for a "brownie-type bar." Albertson says, "It used icing, sour cream and chocolate chips in the mix to make the bar."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or e-mail Names must accompany recipes to be published. Letters may be edited for clarity.

The nutrition analyses accompanying recipes in today's Taste section were calculated by registered dietitian Jodie Shield, except where noted.

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