2.5 cups torn apart bread(from a rustic, french, ciabatta, or sourdough loaf)
salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze fresh lemon juice to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil(enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Once the oil is hot (not smoking) add the onion and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it starts to turn translucent.
Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, zuchini and 1/4 tsp of salt and let cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften and brown.
While the vegetables are cooking tear apart the bread. Spread it out on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss and let cook for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Stir the garlic into the pot and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Then add red pepper flakes, thyme, basil, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and let cook for 2-3 more minutes making sure not to let the garlic or herbs burn.
Pour 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth into the pot to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the drained and rinsed beans and the rest of the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir in the kale and let cook for a few minutes until it has wilted down. Add 1/2 the bread and let simmer for a couple more minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid. Turn the heat off, add in the rest of the bread and ladel into serving bowls. Top with with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil or parsley, and parmesan cheese(if not vegan).
If you are not vegan I recommend adding a parmesan rind when you add the broth and the beans, it adds a delicious umami flavor.
Keyword bread, italian food, ribollita, soup, stale bread, Stew, vegan, white beans