The Cookbook Challenge: Week 4 Beans Recipe: Ribollita (Traditional Tuscan soup)

by April@MyFoodTrail on December 14, 2009

in Cookbook Challenge 2010, Cooking, Recipes, Soups

Theme: Beans
Cookbook: The Tuscan Cookbook

Hubby & I had grand plans for making a cassoulet for dinner on Sunday night, but then we got a better offer of a Peking duck dinner out, so the cassoulet idea was shelved for another time! I made this Tuscan soup earlier as a backup recipe for the bean theme, so I’m glad I did since we didn’t end up making the cassoulet! Even though summer isn’t exactly the time for making soups, it was the perfect soft food meal for me just after getting braces.

Ribollita is a famous Tuscan soup that literally means “reboiled”. It was originally made from reboiling/reheating the leftover minestrone or vegetable soup from the previous day. The first and only place I have tried ribollita was actually in Tuscany, Italy while we were on our honeymoon last year. En route to Rome from Florence, we stopped by the delightful medieval town of San Gimignano for lunch and a wine tasting session at a local winery.

The vines of a winery at San Gimignano

The medieval buildings of San Gimignano & the well in the middle of the town

We had the most delicious, hearty soup during lunch and the hosts told us it was a traditional Tuscan soup. One of the people on tour went and bought a Tuscan cookbook and we all copied down the recipe! I still think that the soup we had for lunch that day was better than this recipe, but this recipe is still very, very good!


Ribollita (Traditional Tuscan soup)

300g white beans – I used canned cannellini beans
Piece of ham rind – I used smoked bacon hock or ham bones
2 ½ litres of water
1 onion
1 leek
2 branches of celery
2 cloves of garlic
½ small savoy cabbage
½ small black cabbage (cavolo nero) – I used ½ medium savoy cabbage
1 zucchini
1 potato
1 carrot
4 peeled tomatoes – I used a 400g tin of whole peeled tomatoes
Bunch of spinach or silverbeet – I left this out
10 slices Tuscan bread, preferably stale
Extra virgin olive oil
30g grated parmesan
Salt, pepper

1. Cook the beans and bacon hock/ham bone in the water in a large pot with a generous pinch of salt.

2. Chop the onion, leek, celery and garlic finely and brown them in a deep saucepan with oil. Add the cabbage and the rest of the vegetables chopped finely, including the tomatoes.

After frying the onions etc & adding the vegetables & some broth

3. Add a few ladles of stocks from beans, enough to cover the vegetables, and cook for about 40 minutes. (The bacon hock and beans are still cooking at the same time). At the end of this time, add the beans and additional broth (just add as much as you need to get a nice soup).

After cooking for 40 minutes, but before pureeing

4. To thicken it, puree one third of the soup, putting it back together with the vegetables. Peel some of the bacon or ham of the bone to add back in. You can puree it further if you want a smoother consistency.

5. Arrange slices of lightly toasted bread rubbed with some garlic in a soup tureen (or baking dish). Over this pour the soup, with the additional olive oil, pepper, parmesan and place in oven for 5 minutes. I left out this step this time.

Results: I had to puree the soup so there weren’t any chunky bits, though I still wanted some texture. The vegetables were soft anyway after cooking it for 40 minutes. It is such a warm, delicious, hearty soup which tastes different to other vegetable soups, probably because of the cabbage. The first time I made the soup, I used the bread, but hubby didn’t like the consistency with the bread so I left it out the second time.

Would I make it again? Yes, definitely. I will be making it again when my braces get adjusted!

Week 5 of the Cookbook Challenge has started with the theme of “Greek”.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Iron Chef Shellie December 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I woulda chosen the peking duck offer too! 😛

sounds yum though!

I'm debating if I do savory or dessert this week, dunno how much time I have to cook with Christmas just around the corner!


mademoiselle délicieuse December 15, 2009 at 12:01 am

Nothing like mushy food to soothe the soul…or sore gums from new braces =)


Conor @ HoldtheBeef December 15, 2009 at 12:25 am

I have seen cavalo nero used a bit in various recipes but don't ever remember seeing it in the shops or at the markets. I guess I must shop at different places to Simon Byrant 😉

Looks like a tasty soup. Mmmmmmmm ham hock.


What's For Tea? December 15, 2009 at 8:07 am

Love Ribollita! This soup is so filling and full of goodness, it's a staple at our place in winter.
Looking forward to 'Greek' this week.


OohLookBel December 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Yum, I love a hearty soup, even in summer. I can see why you'd puree it, too, it looks really good.


Jo - SecondHelping December 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Sounds delicious – and perfect for your braces. I love that you got the recipe from your honeymoon in Tuscany.


imasugarjunkie December 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Looks great – and I often eat ice cream in winter, so theres nothing wrong with soup in summer! I must bookmark this for future cold nights…


Rilsta December 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Hi Shellie: How could I not?! No washing up! 😛 Ooh, I reckon do a sweet! I'm interested in what kind of Greek sweets you come up with!

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: Yes I agree!

Hi Conor: Hehe! I had trouble finding the black cabbage too. It must be out of season or not very popular here.

Hi What's for tea: Lucky you for it being a regular thing in your household! I have never seen it here in Melbourne, though I can now make my own!

Hi Belle: Melbourne's summer is still quite cool so soup is ok! I can't imagine trying to have a hot soup on a 35+ degree day though!

Hi Jo: Yeh, it was a great "souvenir"! 🙂

Hi imasugarjunkie: Hehe! That's a good way of looking at it! I do icecream in winter too!


Ellie December 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Lovely hearty soup. I eat soup & ice cream during all seasons 🙂 Lovely pictures from tuscany!


Agnes December 16, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Hmmmm difficult choice – cook or Peking duck? Hard to know which one I would have chosen 😉 (sarcasm of course, it would have been the duck!)


Cherrie Pie December 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

I love soups like this. I'm going to try this recipe as it sounds andd looks delish and it only uses one pot. Less pots to wash up :p


Rilsta December 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Hi Ellie: Thanks! 🙂

Hi Agnes: Hehe! As much I love to cook, an offer to eat out is 99% of the time more appealing!

Hi Cherrie Pie: Hope you like it! I love one pot recipes too!


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