Tuscan Ribollita, the authentic recipe.

This delicious tuscan ribollita soup is very nutritious and perfect to serve at dinner time. An authentic and very simple recipe to prepare just as you’ll find it at any tuscan trattoria!

What is Ribollita Soup?

Ribollita (or ribollita soup) is a vegan soup from the Tuscany region, in Italy. It has its origin in the country tradition when everything that was a leftover from the garden was used to prepare soups and stews to avoid going waste.

The name Ribollita could not be more appropriate as it means “re-boiled” or boiled two (or more) times. And this is precisely what makes this soup special and different, which would otherwise be a simple vegetable soup with wet bread.

Tuscan Ribollita is loaded with leafy vegetables, potatoes, beans and has a wonderful herb taste. Making the bread soak in the vegetable stock gives this sope and amazing almost creamy texture.

So now you know, if you want to taste the authentic recipe, it is preferable to consume this soup the day after, after boiling it at least once or two times.

Cavolo Nero (Kale)

Cavolo nero is a type of kale belonging to the cabbage family. This vegetable is very nutritious, full of antioxidant properties, vitamin C, carotenoids, folic acid, fiber and Omega 3. In some parts of the world is know also as lacinato kale.

It looks like a large lettuce with long, dark colored leaves, almost black (hence the name: Nero=black) and its texture is dense and thick, almost like the leaves of a cabbage. Its flavor is slightly bitter but it softens considerably after cooking.

In Italy this vegetable is very popular in winter and is prepared in many ways: raw in salads, steamed, sautéed to flavor pasta, on top of pizza or bruschetta, etc. But without a doubt the most popular recipe is the one that I am proposing to you: Tuscan ribollita soup.

The traditional tuscan way

According to the tuscan tradition, to prepare this soup you should use Tuscan bread (which you can even make at home, by the way), a good extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Tuscan, if you can get your hand on it) and avoid to all cost to add parmigiano cheese.

Also, there’s no way tuscan chefs will add canned beans to ribollita, instead, they will cook their own beans the previous days and have them ready for the soup.

Of course, it is not always possible to make the recipes 100% according to the traditional recipe, so if you use another type of bread and oil, you will still obtain a delicious tuscan ribollita soup that is very complete to enjoy in cold weathers. Just make sure those two ingredients are of good quality.

Step By Step Recipe

*The ingredient list with the exact amounts can be found below on the recipe card.

Peel and wash the vegetables. Finely chop the celery along with the onion and carrots. Cut the potatoes into chunks, the cabbage into julienne and roughly cut the cavolo nero and chard. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil, add the onion, carrot and celery mixture (soffritto) and sauté for 5 minutes over moderate heat.

Sauteeing italian soffritto in a pan.

Add the potatoes and sauté for about one minute. Pour in the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and let everything cook at medium heat for one or two minutes.

soffritto, tomato and potatoes sautéing in a pan.

Add the chard, the cabbage and kale. Mix throughly and let it cook at low heat for about 5 minutes.

the pan with the leafy vegetables cooking.

Blend half of the beans with 2 cups of cooking water then add everything to the pan. Pour water enough to cover all vegetables, add the thyme, mix and bring to a boil.

Let the soup boil until all vegetables are cooked through, adjust with salt and pepper to taste and make sure the soup have a good amount of liquid as it will be need to soak the bread.

tuscan ribollita soup cooking on a pan.

In another pan place a layer of stale bread on the bottom, add the soup covering with broth and vegetables, then add another layer of bread. Keep doing layers until all ingredients are gone.

Let the tuscan ribollita soup sit in a warm place for 30 minutes before serving.

Re-heat the tuscan ribollita at low heat and serve the soup in deep plates adding a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.

Recipe Notes

  • Use a whole wheat, rustic bread if you can’t find tuscan bread or make it at home. The bread should handle the liquid and not becoming mushy but fully soak the delicious broth. Stale bread is mandatory but if for some reason you don’t have it, just pop the bread for about 3 minutes in the oven at 390F°/220°C to make it harden a bit.
  • The tuscan ribollita soup get its taste at its peak the following day, so give it a chance and try to make it the day before you intend to eat it, you’ll see how good it is!
  • Add a small amount of oil just to sauté the soffritto, then you can get all the olive oil flavour later, when you’ll serve it “a crudo”. That’s why is so important to add a good quality of olive oil.

More italian recipes

Tuscan Ribollita Soup

6
This delicious tuscan ribollita soup is very nutritious and perfect to serve at dinner time. An authentic and very simple recipe to prepare just as you’ll find it at any tuscan trattoria!
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch lacinato Kale (cavolo nero) about ½ lb
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 340 gr (¾ lb) Savoy cabbage
  • 250 gr (½ lb) swiss chard
  • 200 gr (1 cup) tomato sauce
  • 500 gr (1.1lb) cannellini beans + 2 cups of the cooking water
  • 500 gr (1.1 lb) potatoes
  • 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 450 gr (1lb) rustic, stale bread 
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs

Instructions
 

  • Peel and wash the vegetables. Finely chop the celery along with the onion and carrots.
  • Cut the potatoes into chunks, the cabbage into julienne and roughly cut the cavolo nero and chard. Set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil, add the onion, carrot and celery mixture (soffritto) and sauté for 5 minutes over moderate heat.
  • Add the potatoes and sauté for about one minute.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and let everything cook at medium heat for one or two minutes.
  • Add the chard, the cabbage and kale. Mix throughly and let it cook at low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Blend half of the beans with 2 cups of cooking water then add everything to the pan. Pour water enough to cover all vegetables, add the thyme, mix and bring to a boil.
  • Let the soup boil until all vegetables are cooked through, adjust with salt and pepper to taste and make sure the soup have a good amount of liquid as it will be need to soak the bread.
  • In another pan place a layer of stale bread on the bottom, add the soup covering with broth and vegetables, then add another layer of bread. Keep doing layers until all ingredients are gone.
  • Let the tuscan ribollita soup sit in a warm place for 30 minutes before serving (better overnight).
  • Re-heat if needed and serve the soup in deep plates adding a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Notes
  • Use a whole wheat, rustic bread if you can’t find tuscan bread or make it at home. The bread should handle the liquid and not becoming mushy but fully soak the delicious broth. Stale bread is mandatory but if for some reason you don’t have it, just pop the bread for about 3 minutes in the oven at 390F°/220°C to make it harden a bit.
  • The tuscan ribollita soup get its taste at its peak the following day, so give it a chance and try to make it the day before you intend to eat it, you’ll see how good it is!
  • Add a small amount of oil just to sauté the soffritto, then you can get all the olive oil flavour later, when you’ll serve it “a crudo”. That’s why is so important to add a good quality of olive oil.
Course soups
Cuisine italian

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