Ribollita – Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup

October 24th, 2014

Ribollita 1

Ribollita is a classic Tuscan peasant soup.  It utilizes stale bread and inexpensive winter vegetables.  Translated ribollita means “reboiled”.   Many times left-over minestrone was used as its base.  I admire the frugality of this soup because it also offers a wealth of nutrient rich vegetables.  Leafy kale (cavalo nero in Tuscany), savoy cabbage, carrots, potatoes, celery,cannellini beans and tomatoes are all part of the ingredients.  The stale bread stretches it to feed many.  I was inspired to make this soup because I had a left-over chunk of the wonderful Parmesan bread that I made in my last post.  It was perfect for this soup; a little dense and full of Parmesan flavor.

Ribollita 2

I reviewed several recipes for ribollita.  Some included pancetta or bacon, some added garlic and rosemary, but I went with a classic recipe from Gabriele Corcos, who with his wife Debi Mazar, has the cooking show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. Gabriele is a native of Tuscany.  For me, this hearty soup had a depth of flavor that emanated from the vegetables.  The tomatoes were kept to a minimum and water was used instead of broth to flavor the soup.  So the overall flavor was mild with a rich earthy vegetable taste.  This is most likely the way it was made originally.  My husband decided he needed some meat, so added sauteed sausages to his soup.

Ribollita 3

This soup is very forgiving of any ingredients that you may want to add, and I have decided that I will be hoarding stale bread just for the purpose of making it.  Warm, filling, delicious and good for you.  You couldn’t ask for more.

David Cooking

Today is David’s birthday.  Happy birthday to my partner, soul mate and best friend.  As you can see we have a lot in common.  But I don’t mind sharing kitchen space with him.

RIBOLLITA (Adapted from Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corsos and Debi Mazer)

8 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (Or 1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans)*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch Tuscan kale or regular kale, leaves, removed and roughly chopped
1/2 head savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 pound stale country style bread (I used 1/3 of a loaf of Parmesan bread), cut into cubes

Rinse and drain the soaked beans.  Bring a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot full of water to a boil.  Add the beans, making sure they’re covered by a few inches of water, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook for at least 1 hour, salting the water after 40 minutes, until tender.  Drain the beans and set aside.

In an 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the carrots, onion, and celery and saute’ for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not golden.  Add the potatoes, kale and cabbage and saute’ for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted.

Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon and the drained beans.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until it thickens considerably.

Add the bread and continue cooking for another 30 minutes , until the crust of the bread begins falling apart.*  If using canned beans add them when you add the bread.

Serve in bowls with an extra drizzle of olive oil.  Serves 6.

Printable recipe

29 responses to “Ribollita – Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup”

  1. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I love Gabriele! I watched the show when they made this. It looks really good Penny.

  2. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    And a very Happy Birthday to David!!

  3. Kate says:

    Wow, does this sound great! With colder weather setting in and kale in my veggie box and stale bread…always… I can see this on the menu!! The birds no longer get the bread!

  4. Candace says:

    Oh Penny, I can taste it from here! I’ve been craving soup lately, too! Happy Birthday to David!

    • Penny says:

      Thank you Candace. We have been traveling so much lately that it has been hard for me to leave comments, but I appreciate your good wishes to David and support of my blog.

  5. Big happy birthday wishes to David. I love your earthy soup Penny and it’s so full of pretty vegetables and that great Parmesan bread you made the other day. Life is good when you share it with your best friend.

  6. Madonna says:

    What a comfort dish. The Italians and French have such a gourmet way of using stale bread.

  7. Madonna says:

    oops, p.s. Happy Birthday to David.

  8. Sharon says:

    Happy Boitday to you Boit! Nice to be around people all the exact same age::::ah, high school!

  9. Barbara says:

    Now that’s a beautiful bowl of hearty soup, Penny! And your photos show it off to a T!
    Happy Birthday to your hubby…fun photo of him cooking!

  10. Monique says:

    He looks at home in your beautiful kitchen..you must love that room..what a cute bread box..and sunflowers..:)
    I love soups like this and will surely make it one day!
    We are lucky with our partners:)

    I am wondering if your son knew why I don’t get your posts:(

    I don’t get Gail’s Madonna or yours..

    • Penny says:

      Hi Monique. Yes I love my kitchen and seem to spend most of my time there. I will ask Michael again about the email situation. Have you tried subscribing again?

  11. cheri says:

    Hi Penny, Extra Virgin is one of my favorite cooking shows, love the way they cook. Your soup looks wonderful. Happy Birthday to your husband!

  12. Penny says:

    I just checked Gabriele and Debi’s book out of the library. The next thing I am going to make is there lasagne made with a bolognese sauce. Sounds delish! Thanks cheri.

  13. Claudia says:

    I just started following Gabriele on Facebook. I may break down and actually watch his TV show (don’t watch TV). I will be making this soup this week. The worm is turning in Minnesota and our exquisite autumn is just starting to get chilly. Love the idea of hoarding stale bread!

    • Penny says:

      I can just imagine the colorful Minnesota Falls. I am from Michigan originally so remember the vivid leaves. The NC mountains are getting chilly too. Hope you enjoy the soup Claudia.

  14. Susan says:

    I have made Ribollita soup before and it is wonderful! At the time, I was in a bread-making phase and I lined soup bowl with bread dough and baked them and added the soup afterward. Your recipe sounds delicious!

    Happy belated birthday to your husband! You are lucky to have a partner in the kitchen 🙂

    • Penny says:

      What a great idea Susan. I will have to give that a try some time. Tomorrow is the day that Mimi’s cookbook comes out! Let me know when you receive your copy. I am so excited.

  15. First a belated birthday wish to your wonderful husband. You made a delicious soup with your leftover parmesan bread…it had to have made it special.

  16. Penny says:

    Thanks Karen. It was delicious and the bread was so easy I will be making it often.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Penny this looks absolutely delicious! Justed pinned 🙂 Happy birthday to your hubby!

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