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Ribollita Recipe | How to Make Tuscan “Soup”

“Ribollita” means “re-boiled.” In the past, this soup likely was treated exactly in that manner, but today it’s much more common for Tuscans to refry the dish in a pan. The result is a thick, hearty dish that doesn’t actually resemble a soup at all. This is the kind of food that boasts a flavor well beyond the sum of its parts. You really won’t believe how delicious such a healthy, vegetable-packed dish can be!

Ribollita Recipe | How to Make Tuscan “Soup”

Ribollita needs to be refrigerated overnight, at which point it can be reheated in a few minutes and ready to serve. This is, therefore, a great dish to make in advance for a quick meal later on.

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Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Cook Time: 3 hours

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 6 ounces (170 g) dry cannellini beans

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ white onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 large leek, leaves trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 1 celery rib, chopped

  • 14 ounces (400 g) canned whole peeled tomatoes

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 1 bunch (about 6 oz. or 175 g) Tuscan kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped

  • 1 bunch (about 9 oz. or 275 g) Swiss chard, chopped

  • ½ head savoy cabbage, sliced

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into rounds

  • 10 ounces (280 g) small roasting potatoes, quartered

  • ½ loaf (about 12 oz. or 350 g) stale homemade bread, sliced

Place the beans in a small pot, fill with water to cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hours, or until the beans are soft but not mushy. Add warm water as necessary to keep the beans covered while they cook. “Stir” them occasionally by swirling the pot, but never with a utensil. Set aside for later, keeping the beans in just enough cooking water to cover them.

Fill a large pot with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Over medium heat, sauté the onion, leek and celery until the onion is tender and slightly transparent. Add the whole peeled tomatoes, ¼ cup (60 ml) of water, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes.

Add the kale, Swiss chard, carrots and potatoes into the pot. Cover the pot and steam the vegetables until the greens have wilted—about 10 minutes. Stir the vegetables thoroughly, add another ¼ cup (60 ml) of water into the pot, cover and steam for an additional 30 minutes. Meanwhile, take half of the cooked beans (including half of the water they’re in) and blend them into a thick paste.

Stir the bean paste and the remaining whole beans (again, with the water) into the pot. Bring to a simmer again and cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Salt the soup to taste.

Cover the bottom of a large bowl with a single layer of bread slices. Ladle plenty of the soup on top of the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread, followed by more soup. In the end, you should use about 4 to 5 layers of bread with the last of the soup on top. Let the soup cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. In this form, the ribollita will last in the fridge for several days.

To refry the soup for serving, fill a large pan with enough olive oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium/high temperature. Scoop out the desired amount of ribollita from the bowl and place into the pan. Fry until slightly crispy, breaking up the bread into small chunks with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Serve warm, topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

Buon appetito!

Want to try more authentic Tuscan food? Check out our quick and easy Testaroli pasta recipe!

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Bumne Habit
Bumne Habit

A really interesting dish that I will try at home in the near future.

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