Tuscan Ribollita

By Sonali aka the Foodie Physician
November 14, 2012
12 Comments


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

Food52 Review: 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

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Italian|Bean|Vegetable|Make Ahead|One-Pot Wonders|Winter|Fall|Vegetarian|Entree

Reviews (12) Questions (0)

12 Comments

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. <br />Thank you so much for this.
 
Author Comment
Sonali A. January 27, 2016
Thanks so much for trying it!
 
Brenny December 11, 2015
I
 
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!