The leaves are starting to change color, our days are getting shorter, and there’s no doubt that temperatures are dropping. Fall is upon us, and what better way to celebrate its arrival than with a heaping bowl of ribollita.
This soul-warming vegetable soup was a favorite among penny-pinching peasants looking for delicious and hearty ways to stretch their vegetables. They made ribollita, which means “reboiled”, by cooking leftover vegetables and beans from dinner then reboiling the soup the next day to enjoy, thickening it with day-old bread. It is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup that will warm you from the inside out, perfect for a cool fall afternoon.
To keep this dish authentically Tuscan use unsalted bread and be sure to add cavolo nero, a hearty black cabbage that shines during the fall season. You can feel free to improvise what whatever other vegetables you have on hand.
Suggested pairing: traditional red wine Santa Cristina I.G.T and traditional food Ribollita.
— 1 medium head cabbage
— 1 black cabbage
— 1 leek
— 1 stick of celery
— 2 carrots
— 2 medium potatoes
— 1 tomato
— 1 tbsp tomato paste
— 1 onion
— Extra virgin olive oil
— 2 cloves of garlic
— 10 slices of Tuscan bread
— 250/300g Cannellini beans
— Salt and black pepper
— 1.5l hot water
- Soak the beans overnight (if using dried beans) then discard the water and boil them in abundant water until soft adding salt towards the end. Drain them (keeping the water), blend half of them in a food mixer and keep 1/3 of the beans whole.
- Chop finely the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and sauté with oil in a large saucepan with some thyme to create your soffrito. After a few minutes add the cut up potatoes and leeks and sauté together. Now add your diced tomato and the spoonful of tomato paste that you need to melt in a little warm water. Slice and add your green cabbage that has been cut into fine strips.
- Next pour in the liquid that you kept aside when boiling the beans and the purèed beans and add your roughly chopped Cavolo Nero and then let the soup cook at a low temperature for an hour. During this, just before you finish cooking the vegetables add the rest of your cooked beans.
- Slice the bread into thin slices and place them into the pot with the soup and stir for a few minutes allowing the bread to absorb the liquid and fall apart. Take the pot away from the stove and add salt, pepper and some olive oil.
- Now, at this point you should leave your soup to rest… if you can’t wait, go ahead and taste it knowing that in this phase it is not a ribollita soup, since it hasn’t reboiled! The next day use some olive oil to reboil it for a few minutes and pour a little extra virgin olive oil.