- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling at the table
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 fresh laurel leaf or 1 dried bay leaf - fresh bay is available in herb section of larger markets
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans small white beans, such as Goya brand, cannellini beans may be substituted but look for cans marked "small white beans" on international foods aisle of market
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 3 cups stale chewy Italian bread, crust removed and bread torn into pieces, about 1/2 a loaf
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped, for garnish
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Heat a deep, heavy bottomed pot over moderate heat. Add oil, garlic, onions, carrots, celery and bay to the pot. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and saute until they begin to soften 5 to 7 minutes. Add beans, stock and tomato sauce. Bring soup to a boil over medium high heat. Remove lid and stir in torn stale bread. Stir soup and incorporate bread as it breaks down. When soup is becomes thick and bread is distributed evenly, adjust seasoning and serve the soup in shallow bowls. Some ribolittas are so thick, the spoon can stand upright. This is a subjective technique. Make yours as thick or thin, as you like with the addition of either more bread or additional stock or water.
Top shallow bowlfuls of soup with thinly sliced or finely chopped raw onion, a drizzle of extra- virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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