At the Green Table: Ribollita Tuscan Vegetable-Bread Soup

Ribollita: Tuscan Vegetable-Bread Soup

Ribollita: Tuscan Vegetable-Bread Soup

Ribollita, which means “reboiled,” is an incredibly delicious vegetable or minestrone and bread soup from Tuscany.  It is another one of those recipes that varies from region to region in Italy and each individual cook seems to have their own personal version.  The basic recipe has been around for over several hundred years. It grew out of the poverty of the time and the need to give new life to leftovers.  

On the first day, vegetable soup (Minest ra di Verdura) would be made from whatever vegetables were available. Although a key ingredient in Tuscan Ribollita is Cavolo Nero or winter black cabbage.  The second day the leftover vegetable soup would be reheated with the addition of some stale or toasted bread rubbed with some fresh garlic (Minestra di Pane or Bread Soup).  On day three the bread and vegetable soup would be baked in the oven (375º F for about 20 minutes), perhaps with some additional stale or toasted bread, as well as some thinly sliced onions and olive oil on top.   (Minestra di Pane al Forno or Baked Bread Soup).   Finally, on the fourth day, the remaining leftover soup and bread would be cooked, or reboiled, in a pan on the stove until it was brown and crisp on both sides and thick enough to eat with a fork (Ribollita or Recooked Vegetable Soup).

There are also numerous 3 day versions of Ribollita as well, but our recipe tries to retain the history and the flavor of the dish in a manner that can be prepared in one day.  Although, I should stress that it is even better if you prepare it the day before and reheat it.  In any case, enjoy. 

Ribolitta "Day 4" stage

Ribolitta "Day 4" stage

You can find our recipe here or in the recipes section.