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Author Notes: Ribollita is a traditional centuries-old Tuscan soup that is made with vegetables and beans and thickened with stale bread. The word “ribollita” actually means “reboiled” and it comes from the fact that traditionally, the soup is made from reboiling leftover vegetable soup the next day with the addition of bread. The process of reboiling the soup thickens it and makes it heartier. It also concentrates the flavors, so it is commonly said that ribollita is even better the next day. This vegetarian soup is a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dish that’s filling and perfect for a cold winter’s night. - Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling on top
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoons red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 bunch (about 10 oz) Tuscan kale, chopped (stems and ribs removed)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock or water
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 parmesan rind
- 1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cubed, day old or stale bread
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a wide based pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chili flakes and cook 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until partially softened. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the kale and cook until it starts to wilt, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, stock (or water), thyme, bay leaf and parmesan rind and raise the heat to bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, pour about ¼ of the cannellini beans into a small bowl with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid and mash them together with a fork to form a paste. Pour the paste along with the remaining whole beans into the soup and stir to combine. The mashed beans will help to thicken the soup as it cooks. Simmer the soup with the lid slightly ajar, about 25 minutes until the vegetables are softened but still al dente. Add the bread and simmer another 5-7 minutes, partially covered. The bread will start to dissolve into the soup and thicken it further.
- Before serving, remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon the ribollita into bowls and top with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Note: The soup thickens as it sits and should not be very liquidy. If you prefer more liquid, feel free to add more water at the end.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Stale Bread