Ribollita is a rustic Tuscan white bean soup thickened with day old bread to create a hearty and nutritious meal and prevent food waste.
Ribollita holds a special place in my heart. Back in 2018 Cody and I both quit our jobs to take a 6 week backpacking trip through Italy and Spain. We spent every last dime we had on that trip enjoying the delicious local cuisines and wine. Our very favorite spot on the trip was Tuscany, which is actually a huge region in Italy encompassing some better known towns such as Florance, Chianti en Greve, and San Gimignano (which to this day I still can’t pronounce). If you want to read more about any of these places I have blog posts on them here. Anyways, I’m getting lost in my reminiscing so back to the food. One of the things that makes Tuscany so charming is the history behind their food. Tuscan food is rooted in “poor cooking”, it’s simple, inexpensive, typically uses fresh local ingredients, and does its best to avoid food waste.
This soup is no exception. Ribollita was traditionally made using leftover soup thickened with day old bread. So if you have bread that has gone stale lying around your house this is defiantly the recipe for you. Its hearty, comforting, nutritious, and simple to make. I’ve included an easily accessible ingredient list but feel free to use what ever vegetables you have lying around the house, after all, we want to honor the tuscan heritage and use what we have to avoid food waste.
Now as for the bread a nice crusty loaf works best! For this recipe it will be torn into roughly 1 inch pieces and toasted before it’s added to the recipe. If your bread has become so stale that it’s rock hard, no worries, just run it under water for a few seconds and pop it in the oven for 5 or so minutes, this should make it soft enough for you to be able to tear or cut it. Okay, now let’s jump into the recipe!
Oh, and P.S. if you love this recipe and want to try another tuscan bread thickened soup recipe, I’ve got you covered with this papa al pomodoro.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 onion pealed and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 large carrots quartered and chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 zucchini quartered and chopped
- 2.5 cups quartered mushrooms
- 2-3 cloves garlic diced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cup chopped kale
- 2.5 cups torn apart bread (from a rustic, french, ciabatta, or sourdough loaf)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil(enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Once the oil is hot (not smoking) add the onion and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it starts to turn translucent.
- Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, zuchini and 1/4 tsp of salt and let cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften and brown.
- While the vegetables are cooking tear apart the bread. Spread it out on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss and let cook for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Stir the garlic into the pot and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Then add red pepper flakes, thyme, basil, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and let cook for 2-3 more minutes making sure not to let the garlic or herbs burn.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth into the pot to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the drained and rinsed beans and the rest of the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the kale and let cook for a few minutes until it has wilted down. Add 1/2 the bread and let simmer for a couple more minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid. Turn the heat off, add in the rest of the bread and ladel into serving bowls. Top with with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil or parsley, and parmesan cheese(if not vegan).