Ribollita

  • by Nonna Box March 5, 2022
  • |
  • Last Updated on March 5, 2022
ribollita tuscan soup recipe

La Ribollita: what it is and where it comes from

Ribollita is a typical Tuscan winter dish soup that is quite nutritious and particularly suitable for keeping you warm on chilly days. It is a semi-solid soup prepared with black cabbage and beans.

The dish has a peasant origin as it is a direct descendant of a bread and vegetable soup that in times past was common among the poor of Tuscany. It was particularly popular in the plain of Pisa and in the territories of Arezzo and Florence.

As is common for peasant dishes, there is no precise recipe for ribollita, but nevertheless, there are several ingredients that are foundational. These include black cabbage ( Tuscan curly black cabbage), cannellini beans, and Tuscan bread (other than being from Tuscany, the main characteristic of this bread is that it is unsalted).

Ribollita literally translates to “boiled another time.” Thus, as the name implies, real Ribollita must be cooked twice if it is going to be considered traditional. The more the soup is cooked, the tastier it becomes. Ribollita is part of other earthy Tuscan soups like acquacotta and pancotto.

An Ancient Story

Ribollita is a true symbol of poor Tuscan cuisine. The original ancestor of ribollita is so ancient that its popularity was already widespread during the Middle Ages. At the time, noblemen had meat served over unleavened bread which was then given to the servants who boiled these remainders with whatever ingredients were available.  These usually included herbs and vegetables from the countryside such as celery, carrots, and cabbage. The soup was reheated and consumed for the following several days.

It is this “recipe” that has endured through many centuries all the while being refined and adjusted up to the modern day. As happens with many of these “popular” recipes, now even the ribollita has surpassed the peasant kitchens and has become a true symbol of all Tuscan cuisine.

As mentioned above, despite there being no real recipe, let us take a look at the ribolitta recipe.

ribollita recipe tuscan soup

ribollita recipe tuscan soup

Ribollita Recipe

A delicious hearty Tuscan soup filled with fresh vegetables, cannellini beans, and Tuscan bread
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Course, Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 628kcal
Author: Nonna Box

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 ) celery stick
  • 300 gr (0.66 lbs) black cabbage black kale
  • 400 gr (14.11 ounces) carrots
  • 1 (1 ) savoy cabbage
  • 500 gr (1.1 lbs) cannellini beans
  • 500 gr (1.1 lbs) potatoes
  • 200 gr (1.38 cups) peas
  • 4-5 (4-5 ) zucchinis
  • 500 gr (1.1 lbs) Tuscan bread better stale or sourdough
  • tomato puree
  • Fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Cut the onion, celery, and carrots into small pieces to make the base for a soffritto.
  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil and cook the soffritto. Once softened, add the black cabbage and the savoy cabbage.
  • As soon as the cabbage begins to to cook, add half a jar of tomato puree, then carrots, celery, potatoes, chopped courgettes and peas.
  • In a different pot, drizzle some olive oil and cook the beans. Once soft, add them to the rest of the soup and mix.
  • Cook the soup on low heat for 1 hour then remove from the heat.
  • The bread must then be sliced ​​and placed in a tureen. Make sure you alternate bread slices with layers of cooked vegetables.
  • After the soup rests for approximately 30 minutes, it is ready to eat.
  • As mentioned previously, It is good to remember to reheat the soup in the following days. It will taste even better. And do not forget to add a drizzle of olive oil before eating!
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