I have been to Tuscany many times and without fail I always order Ribollita soup when I am in a trattoria. I will describe itas wholesome and delicious.
This past September while in Tuscany I ordered it two times and both were delicious and both were made with different ingredients. Everyone as their own version of this basic soup.
Ribollita means reboiled. It first begins as a Tuscan vegetable soup but as the left overs are reboiled and semi stale bread is used as an added ingredient it becomes ribollita!
My favorite was in Radda in Chiant. (More about this town in another post). My daughter and I stopped at this great little wine bar called “La Bottega di Giovannino”,, and of course I ordered the Ribollita with a glass of white crisp wine, Vernaccio di San Gimignano. There we sat at the corner table and enjoyed the lunch and watched the world go by. Who could ask for anything more?
So I am including my version of Ribollita recipe:
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 leeks finely sliced (only the white part)
2 gloves of garlic peeled and chopped
2 stalk of celery and don’t be shy about using the leaves
2 carrots finely sliced
1 can of peeled or diced tomatoes
2 medium potatoes – cut into small pieces
1 bunch of spinach
½ small savoy cabbage finely sliced
3 cups of cooked beans or canned small red kidney beans
If you are using dried beans cook them ahead of time according to the package and reserve some of the liquid.
In a heavy soup pot heat the oil and then add the onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots and cook until the vegetables are soft. Then add the tomatoes and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes. At this time add the potatoes and 1 + cup of hot water. Add your salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 10 minutes covered. By now the potatoes should be a bit soft.
If you are using the spinach and cabbage add them now along with the beans and thyme. Stir and taste as you may need to add more salt and pepper and possibly a bit more water.
Lower the heat and continue to cook for 30 minutes. You may have to add additional water to the pot.
Note: Italians use the black cabbage called Cavolo Nero but this is hard to find so you may want to use Kale or Swiss chard. Let your imagination be your guide.
On the second day as this soup is now left over you will want to warm this up
Reheat the soup until hot then:
In another pot or soup terrine add slices (thinly sliced) of country style bread and put the sliced at the bottom of the pot. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Add some of the hot left over soup and then add the bread sliced and soup again. Cover the pot with the remaining soup and set aside for 20 minutes until the bread has absorbed the soup.
When you serve this soup drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and serve with a crisp white wine preferable from Tuscany.
Enjoy this hearty and healthy soup!