Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe with Slow-Cooked Beans, Vegetables
This beans in this Tuscan Ribollita soup are softened by soaking in water for 12 hours (the day before cooking), cooked for an hour or two and then soup is rested for a day to intensify and consolidate the flavours.
The term Ribollita means 'reboiled'. This resting and reheating of the soup helps to improve the taste. Adding a little extra virgin olive oil when the soup is served, with toasted crusty bread and onions, improves the taste.
This is a vegetarian dish with a variety of vegetables. It is a hearty meal for the family or a dinner party.
Ingredients for preparing the beans
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 onion, cut into quarters
- 1 small celery stalk, cut into pieces
- Sprigs of fresh sage, rosemary and parsley
- 225g (8oz) dried cannellini beans, soaked for about 12 hours in cold water
Ingredients for the soup base
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
- 3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried chillies
- 200g (8oz) savoy cabbage, shredded
- 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 celery stalks, cut into small pieces
- 250g (9oz) cavolo nero (kale), shredded
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 1 small leek, white and green parts, cut small
- 2 ripe fresh tomatoes, deseeded, peeled and coarsely chopped
Ingredients for serving the Soup
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 mild red onions
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half
- 6–8 slices of country-style bread
Rinse the beans that have been soaked for 12 hours, and then drain, and then place them into a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add all the ingredients listed above for cooking the beans. Then add enough water to cover the beans by two inches (5cm) and bring the water slowly to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender. Cook for an extra 20-30 minutes if not tender.
Using a slotted spoon, extract the beans from the liquid, but retain it as the soup base. Take two-thirds of the beans and puree coarsely in a food processor. Add to a bowl. This helps thicken the soup.
Strain the cooking liquid into another bowl and discard the vegetables and herbs.
Add some oil to the pot used to cook the beans. Fry the onion and chillies for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, add the tomato puree and fresh tomatoes and add the tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for 2–3 minutes. Next add the bean puree. Stir for several minutes so the mixture combines well. Then add the garlic, thyme and all the other vegetables. Add extra water to a volume of 1.5 litres (3 pints; 6 cups). Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and leave overnight in the refrigerator.
On the next day add the whole bans to the soup in the pot and add the onions slices. Place the pot in an oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for about an hour to reheat
Rub the bread slices with the garlic clove halves, and then toast under the grill. The best way to serve the soup is to place a slice of bread into each bowl and ladle soup over it. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top and serve the soup hot.
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson