Tuscan recipe: Ribollita

If you’ve ever stayed in one of our Tuscany villas, you may have already tried one of the heartiest meals found in Tuscan cooking, ribollita. Ribollita translates as ‘reboiled’ in English, as the taste improves with each day as you reboil the leftovers.

Ribollita, served up in Tuscan restaurants near our Tuscany villas

Like many Tuscan classics, this soup has peasant origins, and has many variations, with ingredients used depending on what vegetables you have to hand. Typically, however, ribollita always includes leftover bread, cannellini beans and cheap vegetables such as carrots, courgettes and onions. If you’d like to have a go at creating this delicious dish in your own home, take a look at our recipe below:

Ingredients (serves 6)

2 tins of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek (light parts only), rinsed well and sliced thinly

1 carrot, diced with the skins left on

1 celery stalk, diced

2 bunches of greens such as kale, roughly chopped

2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic

Sprigs of thyme, a sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf, wrapped with twine

170g tomato puree

750ml water

6 slices of rustic bread, preferably a day old, cut into small chunks

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to finish


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan until hot, before adding in the leeks, onion, carrot celery, herbs and garlic. Cook and stir occasionally until the vegetables turn soft about five minutes in. Add the kale or leafy greens and cook until the cabbage has softened and all the vegetables have blended together, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the herbs and add the tomato paste, ensuring that it is spread well throughout the vegetable mixture, so that it turns a ‘rusty’ colour.

Add the beans to the mixture, then moisten the chunks of bread a little before adding them in too. Bring it to a simmer and allow it to bubble away for half an hour.

Once the soup is ready, allow it to sit for several hours (or even overnight), as this allows the soup’s flavours to intensify. After leaving it to sit, warm up until it begins to simmer. Serve hot, sprinkle a little Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top to finish, and enjoy!

Image: Joy, available under Creative Commons