Ribollita

 

The ribollita is a traditional thick soup from Tuscany. The name (literally: ‘boiled again’) refers to its origins, when it was made with the leftovers from previous meals – including leftover ribollita itself. While there is no official recipe, the ribollita must contain both savoy cabbage and black cabbage leaves, beans and Florentine-type (unsalted) bread. This is the most famous variant, as it is done in Florence proper.

Ingredients

- 250g savoy cabbage

- 250g black cabbage

- 250g dried white cannellini beans

- 150g unsalted white bread

- 50g extra-virgin olive oil

- 100g tomatoes, peeled

- 100g chard

- 1 potato

- 1 onion

- 1 carrot

- 1 celery stalk

- 1 leek

- 3 bacon strip

- Ground black pepper

- Parsley

- Thyme

- Rosemary

The day before preparing the ribollita, put the dried beans in a bowl full of cold water for eight hours at the least, until they are very soft. Cook the beans in gently boiling hot water for one hour, tossing the bacon in for taste. While they cook, wash and roughly dice all the vegetables making sure to dice the harder parts more finely. When the beans are ready, do not lose the cooking water: you are going to use it later. Sauté with olive oil the carrot, onion, leek, celery and the parsley in a large pot – then add the tomatoes and stir with a wooden spoon. Tie the thyme and rosemary twigs together for easy recovery and toss the bundle in with all the other vegetables. Add a couple of cups of the cooking water, stir well and soften the vegetables on a gentle fire adding more cooking water whenever necessary. As the pot does its job, blend two thirds of the beans into a thick cream. When the other vegetables are nice and soft, remove the thyme and rosemary bundle and blend one third of the pot’s content into a cream too. Add the two creams and the remaining beans to the pot, stir well and cook for five more minutes before killing the fire. Let the soup cool, then put it into the fridge and forget it for one day. Seriously: it has to rest to be any good. Another apparently odd preparation is to slice the bread now and leave it uncovered – you actually want it to become a little stale. The next day warm the soup up while you prepare the bowls where it will be served. If you want to go fully traditional you should use terracotta bowls, but any type will do. Put a little soup into each bowl, then a layer of sliced bread, then more soup and so on. The last layer should be of soup. Top with a little olive oil.