Ribollita is a Tuscan peasant style (vegetarian) soup made with bread, vegetables, cannellini beans and the essential ingredient is the robust green Cavolo Nero or Tuscan Kale. Ribollita in Italian translated literally means “re-boiled”. This soup has medieval origins as it is believed that servants collected the left-overs from wealthy banquets and re-boiled the bread, vegetables and stock to create a hearty soup. I used to cook this dish (but not with left-overs!) at our restaurant The Peacock Inn in countryside UK where it was a popular lunchtime soup course. Now I make it every winter and late autumn. It is easy to prepare, ideal for the freezer and very tasty indeed. If you can’t find Cavolo Nero then use any robust greens such as Swiss chard, dark outer leaves of Savoy cabbage, broccoli or other green kale. Below is my version of this simply delicious hearty winter soup. I don’t add the bread in the making of the soup rather dip it into the soup when eating. Enjoy! Sylvia x
INGREDIENTS Serves 4-6
125g dry cannellini beans soaked overnight and cooked as below – resulting in 250g-300g cooked OR use canned cannellini beans, rinse well and drain
100g-120g red onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic minced
100g-120g celery finely dided
100g-120g carrots, peeled and finely diced
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
400g tinned organic chopped tomatoes + 100ml water
120g-150g Cavolo Nero stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped
600ml chicken or vegetable stock or filtered water
2-3 small sprigs rosemary leaves removed
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil and grated mix of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano
- Soak the cannellini beans overnight with 1 teaspoon of bi carbonate soda in cold water. Drain. Rinse a couple times, then add cold water to come approx. 2cm above the beans and bring to the boil. Cook for approx. 10 minutes uncovered. Lower heat and simmer till the beans are cooked but not mushy. Drain, rinse under cold water. Set aside. OR use canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
- In a large saucepan add olive oil gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the celery and carrot with about two teaspoons parsley and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and rosemary leaves. Continue cooking on a simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked cannellini beans, chopped Cavolo Nero and stock. Stir and bring to the boil. Simmer for approx. 20-30 minutes until the flavours have combined. Season to taste.
- Remove from the heat and roughly mash the beans in the soup with a potato masher to break them up.
- Return to the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Your soup is now ready!
- Serve with a dollop of my Labneh (as in the photo) or crème fraiche. Add grated Parmesan if you wish and enjoy with slices of sourdough bread. Buon appetito!