Easy Tuscan Ribollita Recipe



I was a very picky eater as a child. Most of the vegetables were no-go. My main food groups were grains, bread, potatoes, and chicken, but I made one exception: a bowl of ribolletta from my favorite Italian restaurant.

What sold me on this soup? Bread, of course! Looking back, ribolletta, or “bread soup” as I call it, was yesterday's minestrone. The vegetables and beans were soft enough to barely register and were bolstered by a treasure-dipped piece of bread. With plenty of parmesan cheese, I remember it tasting like canned tomato soup, which I love.

The ribollita I enjoyed as a playful child was nothing like the ribollita I know today, which has more texture and flavor. This rustic, comforting soup is incredibly easy to make at home—I make it on repeat all winter long.

What is Ribollita?

Ribollita is an Italian soup from the central region of Tuscany. It translates to “boiled again”. Ribollita's history is usually associated with the less prosperous as it traditionally uses leftovers to create a new meal. The bread used to thicken and thicken the soup is often leftover or stale.

That being said, it's clear to see why ribolletta is one of those traditional dishes that's more of an outline than a strict blueprint, with many variations and no one exact recipe. Most versions include bread, beans, and a mix of vegetables—whether leftovers or in the form of a different vegetable soup, such as minestrone.

Just Recipes / Shilpa Iyer


An incredibly versatile Tuscan soup

My recipe is called “easy” to highlight the ease — it comes together in just 30 minutes and is extremely versatile. This serves as a loose guide that allows you to use what you already have in your pantry. Here are some ways you can change this recipe:

Vegetables:

  • Use cabbage or swiss chard instead of kale.
  • Add chopped roasted or steamed squash or pumpkin.
  • Mix in the remaining hunks of baked potato.
  • Substitute red onions or shallots for yellow onions.
  • Add leeks or scallions.
  • Use fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce instead of canned plum tomatoes.

Fragrance:

  • Add fennel seeds or chili flakes.
  • Substitute fresh oregano, thyme, or marjoram for the rosemary, or use a combination of all four.
  • Add a teaspoon of your favorite dry Italian seasoning.
  • Toss in the Parmesan rind.
  • Add half a lemon or a lemon wedge.

Protein or Starch:

  • Use chickpeas, navy beans, or butter beans instead of cannellini.
  • Mix in leftover shredded or cubed chicken.
  • Add crisped-up bacon, guanciale, or Italian sausage.
  • Add your favorite small pasta.
  • Stir in the remaining brown rice.
  • Serve topped with a poached or fried egg.
  • Enjoy with garlic toast on the side for dipping or crunchy croutons on top for texture.

Just Recipes / Shilpa Iyer


What to do with leftover ribolletta

  • Just reheat it: Boil it on medium heat till it boils. If the soup is too thick, add more broth or water to thin it out. Serve the garlic-rubbed toast with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Pancake it: Daniel Gretzer over at Serious Eats recommends letting your ribolette cook from soup to porridge and eat it with a fork and knife!
  • Add to it: Turn it into a whole new soup. Proteins are a quick win, like crispy sausage or perfectly cooked eggs. I've also eaten it reheated, then tossed it with cooked rigatoni and a bit of butter for a thick and saucy pasta.
  • Mix it up: Blend the rest before reheating and enjoy a smooth, veggie-packed soup. You may need to add more broth or water to thin the soup to the desired consistency.

More Italian soups to try


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