Tuscan Ribollita Recipe on Food52

Make Ahead

Tuscan Ribollita

January  7, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
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,” as the soup is traditionally 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

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Sonali aka the Foodie Physician is an emergency physician and cookbook author from Florida.
WHAT: A vegetarian, flavorful take on the classic Tuscan peasant stew.
HOW: In a large Dutch oven, sauté root vegetables with garlic and dried red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add tomatos and kale, and bring to a simmer with the stock, herbs, and Parmesan rind. Add the beans and bread, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and the ribollita is thick. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We've talked a lot about comfort food over the past few months, but after one spoonful of broth-soaked bread and vegetables, we nearly forgot about every cold weather staple we've turned to this winter. The thick broth is warm, filling, and slightly creamy from the Parmesan rind -- not to mention easy to make. Our only regret? That we didn't discover it earlier in the season. —The Editors

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some to serve
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (up to 1/4 teaspoon, depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 pinch Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bunch (about 10 ounces) Tuscan kale, chopped (stems and ribs removed)
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock, or water
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cubed, day old or stale bread
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In This Recipe
  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide based pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and dried red pepper flakes and cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until partially softened. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the kale and cook until it starts to wilt, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, stock (or water), thyme, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind and bring to a simmer.
  2. Pour about 1/4 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 and 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, partially covered, for another 5 to 7 minutes. The bread will start to dissolve into the soup and thicken it further.
  3. 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 it to have more liquid, feel free to add more water at the end.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Belle
  • Cj Smith
    Cj Smith
  • CWA22
  • Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
    Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
  • Genevieve Boutin-Morin
    Genevieve Boutin-Morin

    18 Reviews

    Katie January 7, 2021
    I doubled the amount of stock added to this (8 cups (mine) vs. 4 cups (the recipe)) and it still turned out really thick and so delicious. I couldn't stop refilling my bowl.
    Lynne May 26, 2020
    I used Mark Bittman's recipe which is much the same as this recipe. It is outstanding. My husband says this is one of my best recipes. Definitely a keeper and love that it is healthy. I used fresh tomatoes, I did not the cheese rind or bread. Was a little short on the kale so added fresh rainbow chard from the garden.
    Belle February 28, 2020
    This was a flavorful and easy soup to make. I used duck stock I had made and chose this recipe as the stock pairs well with beans. I also used 2 c. dried cannellini beans, soaked them overnight and then cooked them in the duck stock until al dente. In using the dried beans, the stock increased to about 6 cups. I used about 1/4 of the cooked beans to make the bean paste. I also added about 1/2 lb. of ground pork after the vegetables were cooked. I browned the pork about 5 minutes and proceeded with the recipe. With all this, the soup was plenty thick and I didn't need to add the bread. Fresh thyme adds a lot to the flavor. The Parmesan rind is lovely. Next time I would reduce the amount of dried beans to 1.5 cups. The dried beans expand when cooked and I felt there were too many beans in the paste and it took a bit away from the sauce's flavor. I was unable to find Tuscan kale and used curly, which worked fine, but the Tuscan kale would give the soup more substance. I'll definitely make this again. Thank you Dr. Sonali!
    wendy November 17, 2019
    I’ve made this several times and on this cold, blustery day, I’m going to make it again. The first time, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I used some v8 juice along with vegtable stock for the broth. The second making, I added some finely chopped red bell pepper that I wanted to put to use. I also use fire roasted tomatoes. I chop the kale pretty finely, so it looks almost like parsley. I prefer that to stringy larger pieces. Today, I have some opened red wine so I will add a few “glugs” of wine. This is a fantastic and satisfying bowl of soup!
    Cj S. January 31, 2019
    I made this vegan, and it made the kitchen smell amazing!

    I halved the recipe, and used 1.5 cups vegetable stock, and used 2 tbs of diluted green olive brine, as the "salt". I keep and use the brine, as "salt" inn savory recipes,, so there's no waste.

    I also have this cylindrical grater thing, that you put the food you want to grate in it, and twist the top, and it will grate carrots, etc., without the risk of grating your fingers.

    Anyway, I grated the carrots in it. Then I decided to find out, if it would grate celery. It actually did!

    So then i wondered, if it would grate kale leaves. It did! It made the kale leaves into a fine mince! I was really pleased.

    That means, that the fine kale mince,, could easily be added to just about anything, and not be noticed so much, have to be chewed, or have it's taste concentrated by eating leaf pieces.

    After the success with the Kale, in the grater, I think it'd be great to grind broccoli for broccoli soup, maybe herbs.

    The grater made quick work, in prepping the carrots, celery and kale, in this recipe.

    It might even be able to grate onions, especially if an onion is quartered, frozen, then ground, in this grater.

    I used diced, frozen garden tomatoes, for the tomatoes, and a piece of premeasured (1 tbs ice cubes) frozen tomato paste.

    Pre measuring and freezing, makes it so simple to use the amount you need, without the rest of the can of tomato paste going bad in the fridge. I use a mini ice cube tray, where each cell, holds a tbs.

    I didn't put the bread in it though, because I served the soup ladled over rice, (1/2 cup of rice & half a cup of soup, to make a 1 cup serving) to make a heartier dish.

    One could also put pearled barley in it (sans bread), to make basically a vegetable barley soup, that is also hearty.

    I got 3.5 cups (seven 1/2 cup servings) of finished soup, after halving it. I froze what wasn't eaten presently.

    It makes a great poor man's economical dish, when 1/2 a cup, is served over 1/2 cup of rice, to make a 1 cup serving. Then 2 cups of soup, will last a month, if it's frozen in four 1/2 cup servings, and eaten once a week!

    Kirdan1990 October 10, 2019
    Could you share the name of your grater? I've never had any that could grate leaves. Thanks!
    Joeyman9 January 26, 2016
    Made this during the blizzard last weekend, glad I did. Small adjustments, used a large can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, smashed one can of cannellini beans, one can whole. Wonderful, complex flavors. Easy to make, delicious doesn't say enough. A new favorite. May add some shrimp next time. Highly recommend
    Author Comment
    Sonali A. January 27, 2016
    I like the adjustments you made to the recipe and shrimp sounds like a great addition! Hope you're staying warm!
    CWA22 January 23, 2016
    Delicious, hearty and yet healthy. I didn't have quite enough kale, so I used some arugula as well, which was fine. Didn't have any stale bread, so toasted some hearty wheat, which worked great. Saved some toast cubes for garnish along with some grated fresh parm, which added some nice texture. Flavor is very complex; I credit the parmesan rind and tomato paste. Highly recommend.
    Author Comment
    Sonali A. January 27, 2016
    So glad you liked it! I agree with you that the parmesan rind and tomato paste add depth of flavor.
    Brenny December 11, 2015
    I just made this soup, following the recipe exactly. It is perfect on this cold and rainy day.
    Thank you so much for this.
    Author Comment
    Sonali A. January 27, 2016
    Thanks so much for trying it!
    Brenny December 11, 2015
    SRdV-W March 4, 2015
    This was very tasty! My whole family enjoyed it. I didn't have a parm rind or the cannellini beans, I substituted red kidney beans and a couple of small chunks of very dry gruyere. It turned out great even with the subs.
    Author Comment
    Sonali A. March 4, 2015
    That's great, glad you liked it!
    Author Comment
    Sonali A. February 27, 2015
    So excited that this recipe was chosen as a wildcard winner! It's an old favorite and one of my go-to comfort foods.
    LaReesa A. June 30, 2015
    Sonali, I decided to finally comment though I've made this recipe at least a half dozen times. It's perfect! Healthy, basically vegetarian and so delicious and filling. It also uses ingredients I almost always have in my pantry and is cheap. I make it frequently and save our "bread butts" in the freezer specifically for it :)
    Genevieve B. August 28, 2013
    Really good soup! I added Quinoa & Zucchini. I had a steak left from the other night's BBQ... cut that one up in cube & added to the soup as well. The Parmigiano-Reggiano gives a nice salty taste since I'm not big on added a lot of salt when I cook. Voila! a hearty soup with all four food groups!