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Bean and Bread Soup : The Ribollita

Updated on November 16, 2015

The Ribollita

Are you wondering what is a Ribollita? What kind of meal could come out of reheated vegetables, beans and stale bread? Do not wonder anymore. Here you will find an authentic Italian recipe for the famous Tuscan soup the Ribollita.

Italian Bread Beans and Vegetable Soup

Delicious Bread, beans and vegetable Soup from Tuscany, Italy.
Delicious Bread, beans and vegetable Soup from Tuscany, Italy. | Source

The Ribollita

The Ribollita is one of the best examples of Tuscan cuisine, unassuming, tasty and hearty. This bread and bean soup require very simple ingredients, often left-overs like old bread, beans pasta and vegetables. Its high content in fresh vegetables makes of the Ribollita a well-equilibrated soup. It is the ideal main dish for vegetarians or for a young family where growing children need the energy provided by carbohydrates.

I usually prepare my Ribollita in winter with the vegetables that we have harvested during the warmer season and stored for the colder months. My family loves it and it has the added bonus that I can prepare it a day or two in advance for those busy days when I am too busy or I cannot be bothered with having to cook -which is quite often!

Vegetarian Bean and Bread Soup : The Ribollita

There are many variations to the Ribollita but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans and inexpensive vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, beans, Tuscan kale, onion and olive oil.
There are many variations to the Ribollita but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans and inexpensive vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, beans, Tuscan kale, onion and olive oil. | Source

The Ribollita a Tuscan Bean and Bread Soup

The Ribollita is a soup made with beans, vegetables -preferably freshly picked from the garden- and old bread from previous meals. This Tuscan soup is tasty, warming and filling. Nothing better to have after a hard day at work and indispensable during the long cold winter days. The preparation is not difficult -even I can do it!

The Elisabetta Piazzesi ‘s recipe for a Ribollita for 6 people uses:

  • 1 large red-skinned onion

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 stick of celery

  • 4 potatoes

  • 10 courgettes (zucchini)

  • 300 gr. dried beans
  • 1 Savoy cabbage
  • Some swiss chard

  • A bunch of Tuscan black cabbage or kale

  • 1 leek

  • Tomato purée

  • 2 days' old Tuscan white bread or a French style baguette

Fresh Ingredients for Bread and Bean soup

Carrots from My Garden
Carrots from My Garden | Source
Courgettes or zucchini
Courgettes or zucchini | Source
Potatoes, from my garden to the table
Potatoes, from my garden to the table | Source

Tuscan Cookery by Elisabetta Piazzesi

Tuscan Cookery (Bonechi)
Tuscan Cookery (Bonechi)

The recipes in this book are authentic to the way of cooking in Tuscany. So expect to search for your ingredients at farmer's markets or even grow your own vegetable patch!

 

Tuscan Cookery


Mi Ribollita recipe is taken from a book called Tuscan Cookery by Elisabetta Piazzesi. I bought this book on Tuscany in the town of Lucca in a bookstore in the mediaeval town. But you can also buy it from Amazon.com.

I choose Elisabetta Piazzesi’s book because of its beautiful images and her easy approach to cooking hearty meals with inexpensive –often found in the garden- ingredients. It was also my first choice because along with the recipe there is often a brief explanation of the origins of the dishes. A pleasure to read which actually ignites the "I want to cook and grow my own vegetables" flame within you.

Tuscany

The Chianti
The Chianti | Source

Preparation


  1. If you are using dried beans for your soup, leave them soaking in water the night before you are planning to prepare your Ribollita. Once they have been soaking all night cook them over a slow flame. I usually use frozen beans fo my Ribollita. These are beans harvested in my garden during the summer season and frozen for later use.

Cook The Beans

Frozen beans slowly cooking over a low heat
Frozen beans slowly cooking over a low heat | Source

Preparation

  1. Gently fry the sliced onion in a big pan.
  2. Once the onion is golden add all the other vegetables, except the cabbage, kale and beans.
  3. When the vegetables have sweated their own juice, add water to the pan, add the kale and the cabbage shredded. Cover and simmer for an hour over a slow heat.
  4. Add the cooked beans, some of them whole and some of them pureed.
  5. Add salt and pepper to your taste and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  6. Stir frequently while cooking otherwise the beans will stick to the bottom of the pan.
  7. When your soup is almost ready add the tomato purée and switch off the heat.
  8. Slice the old bread and in an earthenware casserole, alternate layers of bread with the soup, until the bread is well impregnated with the soup. Leave to stand for a day.
  9. Next day you can get yourself nice and pretty because your lunch is already done. Just heat up your soup and presto!

Making the Vegetables Sweat

zuchinni
zuchinni | Source
zuchinni, carrots, onions and leeks
zuchinni, carrots, onions and leeks | Source

RIBOLLITA RECIPE - Italian Chef Deborah Dal Fovo cooking bread and bean soup

Ribollita : A Delicious Vegetarian Soup Or Vegan Meal

There are several versions of the Rebollita, so many that some say that almost every household has their own version for this Tuscan vegetable, bean and bread soup. Recipes vary upon regional produce and of course availability. It is supposed to be a soup where you can put the veggies available in your garden and even leftovers from previous meals.

As the name literally means re-boiled. In most cases that is exactly what it is. The first day La mama would make a minestrone for the family. The second day, the leftover minestrone would take a new life with bread slices, or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and baked with thin slices of red onion on top. For the third day any remaining leftover would be re-boiled again and enjoyed at the table.

Remember that although it is a soup, it should be thick enough to eat with a fork! In Tuscany, it is served with the traditional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top... delicious!

Ribollita Home-made Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Ribollita Home-made Tuscan Vegetable Soup
Ribollita Home-made Tuscan Vegetable Soup | Source

The Ribollita

5 stars from 1 rating of Tuscan Bread and bean Soup

Cooking In Tuscany - La Ribollita. From the garden to the table

Tuscan Cuisine

As seen on the video above, Tuscan cuisine relies mainly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Most dishes are very simple to cook and have very few ingredients, BUT those ingredients are full of flavour, freshly picked from the family's vegetable garden or bought at a local farmers' market.

WARNING: Do not even attempt to cook a Ribollita with frozen or canned vegetables; the result will not be worth the effort. Choose instead the freshest ingredients you can find and you will amazed at the taste of this Italian soup.

Ribollita Served With Black Bread

Ribollita served with gluten free black bread
Ribollita served with gluten free black bread | Source

The Zucchini , Easy To Grow And Full Of Health Benefits ...

Tuscan recipes like the Ribollita were born out of necessity and creativity. Italian peasants had to create filling dishes with whatever their vegetable patch provided them and that is how the Ribollita was born.

The Zucchini is a very easy to grow plant which rewards you with a rich bounty in exchange of very little care. Only one plant of zucchini can provide enough fruit for a large family over a few weeks. Usually I plant one or two zucchini plants and I have enough fruit to prepare soups, bread, desserts and salads for a few weeks. Some years I have some much fruit that I have to give it away to friends after storing a good amount of fruit for using during the colder months.

One good thing about the courgette or zucchini is that being of a very mild flavour it is good for preparing salty and sweet dishes. On top of that, there is a whole list of health benefits that come from regularly eating this humble fruit. There are several studies showing that courgettes have anti cancer properties. It has also been shown that zucchinis promote cardiovascular health because it is rich in potassium and magnesium which in turn aid to keep blood pressure stable.

Courgettes are also a great ally if you are looking to lose extra weight. A serving of 100 grams of courgette only has 15 calories.

Like many fruits and vegetables, zucchinis are gorged with antioxidants which means that they slows down the ageing process and help the reconstruction of brain cells.

So, what are you waiting for to grow your own organic courgettes?

Zucchinis From My Garden , Easy To Grow And Maintain

Zuchinnis still on the plant
Zuchinnis still on the plant | Source

Growing a Vegetable Patch

Do you grow your own vegetables?

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    • healthy meals profile image
      Author

      healthy meals 3 years ago from Europe

      prasetio30: Thanks for the vote up I hope you enjoy the ribollita.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Yummy and delicious. Thanks for writing and sharing delicious recipe here. Voted up!