This thick Tuscan soup is packed with flavor and nutrition. Often made with cannellini beans, red pepper, cloves of garlic, and cooked with parmesan rind for unique flavor, this Italian soup is a great meal on a cold day.
What is ribollita?
llita means “boiled twice” in Italian. Like pizza, it tastes even better after a day or two when all the flavors have even more time to blend together. This outstanding Italian soup has been perfected over many years. It was originally a meal for peasants, but now ribollita is a staple of Tuscan cuisine.
Boiling soup with parmesan rind is a great to add flavor as well as make use of the entire wedge of parmesan. Just as the bay leaf adds a distinct and unmistakable flavor to soups and stews, so does parmesan rind-- there’s nothing quite like it. You may have had soups in restaurants in the past with a delicious flavor you can’t quite put your finger on-- that may have been parmesan cheese. While we’re on the subject of flavorful additions to soup, adding a little apple cider vinegar to some broth-based soups will add a great flavor that’s not at all overpowering and gives your soup some brightness. Ribollita does not need apple cider vinegar, but many Ribollita recipes call for a dried bay leaf.
Dried bay leaves should be a pantry staple. Add them to soups and stews and even juicy meat dishes where there’s some liquid. Always remove the bay leaf before serving-- it’s too tough to eat, even when cooked in a slow cooker for 8 hours or more. Their firm texture makes them easy to find in the soup once you’re done cooking it.
If you enjoy the flavor of this soup and want to use parmesan rinds in your cooking more often, keep a zipper bag in the freezer and add a parmesan rind each time you finish a wedge of parmesan so you’ll always have them at arm's’ reach in your kitchen. Be sure to remove the parmesan rind from your soup, along with the bay leaf, when it’s done cooking.
How do you make ribollita?
Many soups, including a number of recipes for ribollita require you start with a mixture of chopped celery stalks, white onions, and carrots. This is also called a mirepoix, which is a mix of chopped vegetables you use to start a soup. The combination for Ribollita is the most common, however, some soups call for a variation on this combination. For the busy home cook, you can find all three of these vegetables diced and pre-packaged in the produce section of many grocery stores. They’ll typically be in plastic containers alongside the prepared produce. Buying these pre-chopped will save you a little time-- no washing, peeling and chopping, but you’ll want to use these within about 2 days so they don’t start to lose moisture. When you start your soup you want to use produce with the maximum amount of flavor and there’s nothing quite like freshly chopped onions, celery, and carrots.
Start with a large pot over medium heat and pour a generous amount of olive oil inside. Once the oil has a chance to get hot, add the vegetable mixture and stir. Depending on which of the many Yummly ribollita recipes you choose to make, you may add: -- Swiss chard -- Diced tomatoes -- Cloves of garlic -- Red pepper flakes for some kick -- A generous amount of salt and black pepper
Pro Tip: Smashed Garlic
When using garlic in any recipe, consider how much garlic flavor you want. Add smashed garlic cloves would taste great in this soup and give it a wonderful scent. With garlic, the smaller it is diced, the stronger the flavor. Minced garlic might overpower the other flavors. But several smashed cloves will break apart while the soup cooks and add flavor to the broth without turning ribollita into garlic soup.
Use red pepper flakes sparingly as they get very spicy, especially when cooked for a long time. Pour a very small amount into the palm of your hand and using your thumb smash the flakes to help bring out the oils. Add this to the soup. This will give it some kick and add even more complexity.
Put half of the rinsed cannellini beans in the soup and use a food processor or high-powered blender to puree the remaining beans. This will add a creaminess to the soup. This is a great tip when you want to make a soup heartier and creamier without adding fattening cream. You can also use baked and pureed potatoes of cauliflower to add “cream” to other soups.
Typically, it is a vegetable soup but occasionally people add sliced Italian sausage.
- 30 ounces cannellini beans (rinsed)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion (small dice)
- 1 carrot (small dice)
- 1 celery stalk (small dice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1/2 pound black kale (stemmed and roughly chopped)
- 1/2 head savoy cabbage (roughly)
- 28 ounces Italian peeled tomatoes (hand crushed)
- 1 quart water
- 4 slices whole wheat Italian style bread (stale or oven dried)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the onion and carrot and dice, along with the celery, into 1/8-inch pieces. Peel and crush the garlic. Clean, destem, and roughly chop the cabbage and kale. Open, rinse, and drain the cannellini beans.
- Sauté the carrots, onions, and celery with 2/3 of the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium high flame for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly until it just begins to brown.
- Add the garlic, red pepper, rosemary, thyme. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes until soft.
- Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil, then add the kale and cabbage to wilt.
- Add 3/4 of the water and beans and continue cooking, stirring frequently until soft, about 30 minutes. Discard the rosemary and thyme stems.
- When the vegetables are soft and cooked, break the bread into pieces and stir into the soup. The bread should soak up most of the liquid leaving a the consistency of a thick stew. Add more water as necessary.
- Remove from heat and serve garnished with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil.
- Pro tip: Ribollita means ""reboiled"" in Italian - this dish reheats well. A great dish to use for meal prep throughout the week!
|Calories230Calories from Fat110|
|% DAILY VALUE|
|Calories from Fat110|
|% DAILY VALUE|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.