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 It was originally made from reboiling/reheating the leftover minestrone or vegetable soup from the previous day.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.
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
2 branches of celery
2 cloves of garlic
½ small savoy cabbage
½ small black cabbage (cavolo nero) – I used ½ medium savoy cabbage
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
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.
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).
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