Wednesday, April 8, 2009


After my recent success with Papa al Pomodoro, I was set to try another italian peasant soup.  Ribollita is another common dish in Tuscany, especially during cooler months. This soup is chock full of vegetables and has great staying power thanks to the beans and bread. I used kale, but for real authenticity, get your hands on some cavolo nero (black cabbage). 

My Favourite Ribollita 
Jamie Oliver

• 310g zolfini or cannellini beans, fresh, or dried and soaked overnight (I used cannellini beans)
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tomato, squashed
• 1 small potato, peeled
• 2 small red onions, peeled
• 2 carrots, peeled
• 3 sticks of celery, trimmed
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
• olive oil
• a pinch of ground fennel seeds
• a pinch of dried red chilli
• 1 x 400g tin of good-quality plum tomatoes
• 310g cavolo nero, leaves and stalks finely sliced (I used half napa cabbage and half spinach)
• 2 large handfuls of good-quality stale bread, torn into chunks
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• the best extra virgin olive oil you can find

Add your fresh or dried and soaked beans to a pan of water with the bay leaf, tomato and potato – this will help to flavour the beans and soften their skins. Cook until tender – taste one to check they’re nice and soft. Dried beans can take up to an hour, but check fresh ones after 25 minutes. Drain (reserving about half a glass of the cooking water), and discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato.
Finely chop your onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Heat a saucepan with a splash of olive oil and add the vegetables to the pan with the ground fennel seeds and chilli. Sweat very slowly on a low heat with the lid just ajar for around 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes.
Add the cooked and drained beans with a little of the water they were cooked in, and bring back to the boil. Stir in the sliced cavolo (it will look like loads, but don’t worry as it will cook down), then moisten the bread with a little of the cooking water and stir it in too. The soup should be thick but not dry, so add a little more cooking water if you need to loosen it. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes – you want to achieve a silky, thick soup.
Season the ribollita with salt and pepper and stir in 4 good glugs of good-quality Tuscan extra virgin olive oil before serving to give it a glossy velvety texture.


angela@spinachtiger said...

I love this soup. I made up my own recipe after having it in tuscany. Your soup looks so good and is a nice reminder that people love ribollita.

pinkstripes said...

Sounds delicious. I love Jamie Oliver.

Melbourne Hotels said...

The photo of the soup is very nice. Looks delicious. Can't wait to cook for my family. Thanks for sharing.