Marco Canora’s ribolitta is made with a type of kale called cavolo nero (aka black cabbage, or Lacinato) and served with lots of parmesan cheese and crusty bread. The recipe can be either made with a meat stock, or with water to make it vegetarian. It’s so comforting, but extremely healthy as well.

I don’t think I had ever tried cavolo nero before. It’s a sturdy green that’s actually kind of funky smelling when raw. The recipe calls for it to be chopped extremely fine, which is not easy when you’re trying to chop eight cups worth! We read that one of his tricks is to freeze it overnight and then simply crumble it into the soup. Unfortunately, we didn’t think that far in advance. The results, though, were totally worth the effort.



Olive oil
3 c. each carrots, celery, and onion, finely diced
1 small head (or half a large head) of savoy cabbage, chopped
1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
8 c. finely cavolo nero, very finely chopped
5 c. cannellini beans, 3 c. pureed and 2 c. whole
10 c. water or meat stock


Start by sautéing the carrot, celery, and onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until soft but not browned. Be patient – this takes a little while. The pot should be covered for most of the time.

Next, add the savoy cabbage and cook for just a few minutes until it wilts.

Then add the tomato paste and stir until combined.

Add the cavolo nero.

Cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the water (or stock) the whole beans. When it comes to a boil, add bean puree and simmer away. I’m not sure if there’s an exact simmer time, but we let it go for about an hour.

Top the soup with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and crusty bread or toast points and there you have it: a yummy, comforting bowl of soup perfect for the winter.

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