Ribollita

19 Nov

A perfect soup for the kitchen gardener. This recipe is a child of the classic Tuscan soup based on black cabbage, beans, and other vegetables. There must be as many recipes for Ribollita as there are cooks in Tuscany. This is our own variation and the secret of this recipe is to create a balance between the three main food types: the starchy white beans and potatoes, the sweet dense root veg and pumpkin and the sharp flavours of leafy dark greens such as Tuscan kale and chard. The soup is a delightful meal in itself and very tasty. It is the kind of soup designed to cook over a long period on a wood fire or stove and its name ‘Ribollita’ means to re-boil in Italian referring to the fact that this soup was probably kept on the go all week with different vegetables added to the pot. I prefer to stop cooking it at the point when the vegetables have each contributed their flavour but before they start to disintegrate into the soup so this recipe has a rather shorter cooking time than a traditional Ribollita.


Serves 4 Prep 15 min Cook 30-45 min

  • 1 cup dried cannelloni beans soaked and boiled until tender
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • fry above
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 potatoes peel halved and sliced
  • 3 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 1.5 litres water
  • ¼ butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp celery verudette or 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 head of Tuscan black kale
  • Sprig thyme
  • Sprig rosemary
  • small Bunch of parsley, minced

In a large pan fry the onion gently in the olive oil until soft, add the leek and carrots and black pepper and gently fry until softened. Add the water, tomatoes, potatoes, verudette, thyme and rosemary. Take half the beans liquidise with a little water and add to the pot. Cook for 20-30minutes until the root vegetables are just tender then add the Tuscan kale, orange flesh pumpkin and remaining white beans. Cook for a further 10-15mins, add parsley check seasoning and serve garnished with crisp croutons and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (optional).

Variations You can use any sweet flavoured roots or tubers such as parsnip, sweet potato or parsley root and any dark green leafy vegetables although to be true to its Italian origins and for taste you cannot beat Tuscan Kale.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 19/11/2006.

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2 Responses to “Ribollita”

  1. Mal's Allotment 24/02/2010 at 22:26 #

    No dried bread? Parmesan on ribollita is like tomato sauce on steak, according to one authority. But I do agree about shorter cooking to retain the characteristics of the ingredients.Looks wonderful!

  2. Laura 25/02/2010 at 00:40 #

    Thanks for the comment Mal, I prefer bread as crispy crutons on top, parmesan is optional, just my preference as I said this dish is a country one with as many variations as cooks, this is just mine and makes a good base to make your own variations.

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