Ribollita is a traditional Tuscan vegetable soup that dates back to the Middle Ages. When the noble class would have a feast the prepared meat was usually served on pieces of flatbread that were used as plates. Servants would take the leftover bread home after the feast and mix it with foraged vegetables to make a thick, rich soup.
Ribollita means “re-boiled” and the classic recipe calls for cooking the vegetables the first day then adding day-old bread the second day and re-boiling the soup until it thickened. Tuscans are known as “bean-eaters” so naturally the soup includes white beans, which can be soaked and cooked or canned beans. Kale is also a traditional ingredient but spinach can be used as a substitute. Any kind of vegetable can be used for making the main stock. Now that gardens are producing and farmer’s markets are in full swing, it’s an opportunity to get creative with ingredients!
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
Day-old artisan bread such as Tuscan, focaccia or ciabatta bread, torn into small pieces
Sautee in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ¼ cup water until tender:
4 stalks of diced celery (including celery leaves)
3 peeled and diced carrots
1 cup chopped cabbage
½ chopped onion
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
When the vegetables are almost tender, add 1 small sliced yellow zucchini and 1 small sliced green zucchini then cook until tender.
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
2 small cans of cannellini or northern beans
2 tbsp. pesto
2 tablespoons of sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
About 3 cups of kale or spinach
Cook until thickened. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.
Have fun in the kitchen!