Friday, December 6, 2013

Traditional Ribollita Recipe

There are many different names for this soup.  "Tuscan bread + bean soup", "peasant soup", and "leftover bread soup" to name a few.  I like to call it "Heaven in a bowl soup".  

What this soup is actually called is Ribollita.  Ribollita is a famous hearty soup, native to the region of Tuscany that is made with loads of veggies, cannellini beans, and bread.  The soup is cooked for hours on the stove until it boils down to more of a stew like consistency.  It actually does have "peasant" origins, as ribollita translates to re-boiled in Italian and relates to the fact that this soup would be reboiled on a wood stove and fed to a family for days at a time.  It really embraces what I imagine Italian peasant cooking to be all about; cheap + damn good food to warm you up and refuel your body.

I first fell in love with this soup on my very first trip to Italy.  Adam took me to Italy for my 30th birthday.  My birthday is in January, so naturally it was freezing outside.  We popped into a little hole in the wall restaurant to mainly get out of the cold weather and I ordered the soup to warm my frozen bones.  The rest is history... it was love at first bite :)  Every time we go back to Tuscany I seek out the soup.  We even served this to our guests at our wedding in Val d'Orcia!  

The flavors are so delicious, and every component of this stew compliments each other perfectly.  It is actually pretty healthy {minus the bread factor} since the ingredients are simply tons of veggies, chicken broth, and cannellini beans {which are an excellent source of fiber + protein}. 

This dish is extremely time consuming, so plan to be your kitchen for hours.  I promise it will be so worth it!!  Pour yourself a glass of vino, do some laundry, relax, but please I beg you, do not rush this recipe.  It really does need to simmer down for the flavor to intensify.

Buon Appetito!  xx


1 1/4 cup dried cannellini beans
12 large sage leaves
8 garlic cloves; 5 sliced & 3 chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large unpeeled yukon gold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered through core and sliced crosswise
1 large pinch dried thyme
1 small bunch swiss chard, center stem removed and cut into 1" ribbons {about 6 cups worth}
4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage 
1 small bunch of kale {any variety}, cut crosswise into 1" ribbons {about 6 cups worth}
5 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1 2" square parmesan cheese rind
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
2 cups {plus extra for thinning out} good quality chicken broth
6 half inch slices crusty white bread {such as focaccia or country white} torn coarsely with crust intact.
salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil


Combine 8 cups water, beans, sage, and sliced garlic in large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls to keep beans submerged, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on age of beans. 

When beans are tender, add 1 teaspoon sea salt; simmer 10 more minutes. Uncover and cool beans in their liquid. Do not discard liquid as you will be adding this to the soup later on.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic; stir 2 minutes. 

Add celery, carrot, potato, fennel, and thyme; cook until vegetables are tender and begin to turn brown in spots, stirring often, 15 to 18 minutes. Add kale, chard, cabbage, tomatoes, Parmesan rind, 5 cups water, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. 

Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Add beans with cooking liquid and crushed red pepper. Add 2 cups chicken broth. Season with salt and generous amount of pepper.

Add bread to soup and bring soup to a simmer, stirring often to break up bread into smaller pieces and adding more broth by 1/2 cupfuls to thin, if desired. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Divide ribollita among bowls, drizzle with oil, and serve.

**This soup will feed your family for days & the flavor is even better on day 2!  You can also freeze any leftovers in tupperware and it will hold for months in your freezer** 

 Original recipe modified via Bon Appetit


  1. This looks absolutely delicious! I love slow-cooked and peasant food. It's always super flavorful and centered around showcasing simple ingredients or cheap cuts of meat to the best of their ability. Awesome blog. I'm following you on bloglovin :)
    atelier zozo

    1. It is sooooooo scrump! I hope you give it a try sometime! Thanks for the follow + for taking the time to comment! xx

  2. This sounds so delicious! I will be making this in the future.

  3. Sounds amazing, I just printed it and I have most of the ingredients already. Would this work in the crockpot? Or should I just cook it on the stove as you said?

    1. Hi Joy! I'm not sure if it would work for a crockpot as I've always just done it on the stove. If you end up doing it that way I'd love to hear how it turns out for you! xx

  4. I can't wait to try this! I looooooove hearty soups, especially in winter! XO

    1. omg this soup is soooo unbelievably good!! Let me know if you end up making it and what you think!

  5. Hello Andy! I featured and linked to your delicious recipe in a post on my blog, “How to use stale bread + 24 stale bread recipes!”
    You can find it here:

    Thank so much!



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