Ribolitta is a Tuscan bread soup made with bread and vegetables, often from leftovers. There are many variations but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beans, kale, cabbage, onion, carrots, and potatoes. Its name means “reboiled”. Like most Tuscan cuisine, the soup has peasant origins. It was originally made by reheating or reboiling leftover minestrone or vegetable soup from the previous day with stale bread. Some sources date it back to the Middle Ages when the servants gathered up food soaked bread from their lords banquets and boiled themfor their dinners.
I had many versions of this comfort food during my visit to Florence Italy in 2021. All were absolutely amazing, but the one that stood out the most was in San Gimignano, at the Torciano estate. Their recipe goes back generations dating back hundreds of years. Start this in the morning for dinner. There are several steps in this one, but so worth it. So I recommend doing this on a weekend, perhaps when you are snowed in or just planning on enjoying a day at home.
This is considered a first course, and is paired with a good red wine!
You will need:
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves minced
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 cup green cabbage shredded
1 cup kale shredded
1 can cannellini beans drained
1 can tomatoes with juice, using hands to break up
2 russet potatoes peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken bone broth
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of stale bread torn
Grated pecorino romano
In a medium size dutch oven, coat bottom with olive oil, heat and toast garlic. Add red pepper flakes onion, and carrots. Cook for 10 minutes until soft, add tomatoes, chicken broth, rosemary sprig, cabbage, kale, potatoes and beans. Simmer for 2 hours the last 30 minutes with lid off. Remove rosemary sprig. Turn off heat. Add torn bread to thicken, gently stir and allow to cool, once cooled put in the refrigerator for the day. Later in the day, remove from refrigerator, heat oven to 325 and bake for 45 minutes. Serve in wide bowls, drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with grated pecorino romano.
I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing this is for “peasant food”.