Ribollita

ribollita

This recipe is for a famous Tuscan soup whose name, ribollita, simply means reboiled. This recipe can be traced back to the traditional Italian style of peasant cooking when ingenuity was necessary to feed your family, and every little scrap of food was used.

The three main ingredients always found in any variation of ribollita are stale bread, homemade broth, and cooked beans. Despite its humble beginnings, every restaurant in Tuscany seems to have its own version of this soup on the menu. Ribollita can be a first course, main course, or a filling meal at lunch. Generally, as with many Tuscan soups, ribollita is served at room temperature with a drizzle of good olive oil on top.

My own version of ribollita is a very filling, healthy yet delicious addition to any menu. This soup is actually best if made the day before, then allowed to come to room temperature before serving. It is also a great choice to make ahead and freeze, as it actually seems to improve with reheating. I often serve a small portion of this soup as a first course with a grilled meat or seafood selection to follow. A vegetable side dish or a crispy mixed green salad would complete the meal nicely.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Ribollita

A traditional Tuscan soup chock full of vegetables and thickened with bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 3 Medium Carrots, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Medium Celery Stalks, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Of Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, Coarsely Chopped
  • 3 Cups Greens (Chard, Mustard Greens, or Spinach), Shredded
  • 1 (19oz.) Can White Beans, (Cannellini) Drained
  • 1 (19oz) Can Tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Bunch Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 Cups Day Old Italian Bread, Cut Into Cubes

Optional Toppings:

  • Pesto
  • Olive Oil
  • Shaved Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Saute the onions, celery, garlic and carrots in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, parsley and greens, and then add just enough broth to cover.
  3. Cover, and cook for about 1-½ hours.
  4. Add the white beans and cook an additional 15 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the bread cubes and simmer until almost dissolved and then use a whisk to completely mix in the bread.
  7. Serve soup at room temperature, drizzled with a little pesto mixed with olive oil, and some parmesan shavings.

Note: If you like your soup even thicker, put 1/3 of the soup in a food processor or a blender and puree until thick. Return to the soup pot and mix well.

Variations: Although my version is vegetarian when you use vegetable broth, you could add additional flavor to the soup by adding a prosciutto or pork rind while cooking. Almost any variation of vegetables could be added as desired, including cabbage in place of the greens.