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ribollita

Ribollita

This Tuscan bread soup recipe is from my cookbook, Piatto Unico.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions or 1 large Spanish onion chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 large stalks celery
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 small zucchini peeled
  • 4 medium boiling potatoes peeled
  • 1 small bunch Tuscan kale lacinato or any variety of kale
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini or cranberry beans plus some of the liquid if cooked from dried beans
  • 8 slices white country-style bread crusts on, cut in cubes (6 to 8 cups)
  • Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Cut the onion, celery, carrots and zucchini in small (1/4-inch) cubes. Cut two of the potatoes in 1/4-inch cubes; halve the other two. Tear or cut off the kale leaves, discarding the stems. Thinly slice the leaves crosswise.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion, cooking and stirring until it softens, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook slowly, stirring often, until the soffritto reaches a deep golden brown color, about about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 cup cold water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is dense.
  4. Add the celery, carrots, zucchini, diced and halved potatoes, kale, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add enough bean cooking liquid or water, or a mixture, to barely cover the vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 2 hours.
  5. Cool the soup slightly. Use a food processor or food mill to puree the halved potatoes and 1 cup of the beans; return the pureed mixture to the soup pot with the remaining whole beans. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Simmer at least half an hour longer until thick. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  6. To serve: Unless the bread is stale, toast it in a slow oven (325°F) until dry to the touch but not browned.
  7. Spread the bread cubes on the bottom of the soup bowls. Ladle the soup on top. Pass a cruet of your best olive oil to drizzle over the soup.

Recipe Notes

Note Another way to serve ribollita: Layer the bread cubes and soup in a tureen or casserole dish. Cover and reheat in a 350°F oven.