When I lived in Florence for a semester in college, Ribollita was one of my favorite things to order at restaurants and my host mother would cook it for me once a week. It was a staple of the Tuscan diet and I became a huge fan. If you’ve never had it, it’s basically veggie soup with chunks of bread in it topped with more bread. This recipe brings me back to my days in Florence.
It’s hearty, packed with veggies, and cures everything from a sniffle to a hangover.
Ribollita is always made with cannellini beans and kale but you can use any other veggies you want. I make mine with celery, onion, carrot, and garlic. A lot of people use cabbage too but I can never get the taste right. But the real key to ribollita is cooking the soup with a rind of Parmesan cheese for an earthy, nutty flavor. And a great loaf of crusty bread. The crustier, the better.
Ribollita Soup Recipe
Serves 4-6, adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe by Molly Baz
– 1 large onion
– 3 medium carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 8 garlic cloves
– 1 bunch, Tuscan kale
– 1 small wedge of Parmesan with rind
– 28-oz. can, diced tomatoes
– 1 tbsp, tomato paste
– 1/2 cup, red wine
– 1 loaf, crusty bread
– 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
– Salt to taste
– 14-oz can cannellini beans
– 1 tsp, crushed red pepper flakes
1. Preheat oven to 450. You’ll be baking the stew after it cooks on the stove.
2. Prep your ingredients: Chop onion, carrots, and celery and add to a medium-size bowl. Smash, mince, or press 8 cloves of garlic and add to the same bowl. Strip the stems from the Tuscan kale and discard. Tear the leaves into small pieces and set them aside. Cut the rind off of 1 small Parmesan wedge, and set aside. Tear a loaf of crusty bread into 1 inch pieces.
3. Sauté the veggies: Heat 1/3 cup extra-virgin oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic with some salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 8–10 minutes.
4. Add more: Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, beans, Parmesan rind, red pepper flakes (optional), and 4 cups veggie or chicken broth (or water), and bring to a simmer.
5. Kale it up: Add kale in small bunches and stir to let it wilt.
6. Time for bread: Add about one-third of torn bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until coated and warmed through, about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.
7. Bake: Remove the pot from heat. Place remaining torn bread chunks on top. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Transfer to oven and bake stew until thick, bubbling, and bread is golden brown on top, 10–15 minutes.
8. Serve: Ladle stew into bowls, drizzle each generously with olive oil and grate lots of Parmesan on top.