Ribollita is a Tuscan style soup that more closely resembles a stew than a soup. It was peasant food, and due to it’s nature was made from the left overs of other dishes, which is how it got it’s name as Ribollita literally means “reboiled”. Traditionally, Ribollita soup uses Tuscan cabbage (Cavolo Nero), cannellini beans, and stale bread.
While you can often find brothy versions of Ribollita soup, in my mind they aren’t traditional and don’t really get to the heart of what this type of cooking was about. Peasant cooking was all about extending the life of dishes and making them as filling as possible.
I think I must have been an Italian peasant in a former life because I love this style of cooking….either that or they had good taste.
This is my version of Ribollita Soup. It’s a thick nourishing stew like soup, which has a velvety consistency from the broken down bread and being left to cook until the vegetables are soft. I like to serve it with fresh basil leaves (torn up and stirred through the soup), freshly cracked pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some shaved parmesan.
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 400g tin of Italian diced tomatoes
- approximately 300 to 400g of cavolo nero, stems removed and chopped
- 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
- 400g tin of butter beans, drained
- ½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 litres of vegetable stock
- 4 slices of stale bread, torn into bite sized pieces
- Heat a large soup pot over a medium low heat and add the olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, salt, carrots and zucchini and cook slowly for 15 to 20 minutes so that the vegetables sweat out their flavours and don’t brown.
- Stir the tinned tomatoes into the vegetables and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the cavolo nero, butter beans and cannellini beans, basil and parsley and stir through the mixture (I like to squash some of the beans into the mix at this point to release their flavour and help thicken the soup) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup to the boil before lowering to a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes
- Add the bread and cooking until the bread has broken down, about 10 minutes.