- Food: Ribollita
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
This ribollita recipe is for you if you detest throwing away stale bread. It’s a delectable bread-thickened vegetarian Tuscan white bean soup.
Jack’s new weekend pastime, baking bread, inspired the creation of this Tuscan white bean soup recipe. He has been making some really good focaccia and a couple of really excellent loaves of ciabatta over the past few weeks.
I used to think that making rustic crusty bread required wood-fired ovens and other tools that weren’t common household items.
There isn’t. Despite the straightforward components, it does take an afternoon of babysitting. Kneel, fold, wait, and then rest. Repeat about 15 times more.
After all this effort, I couldn’t bear to throw out the last piece of ciabatta when it started to go bad a few days later.
While I frequently mention it because what I find at the farmer’s market serves as my source of cooking inspiration, there are moments like today when the inspiration comes from a desire to avoid wasting foods that were prepared (or grown) with love.
Panzanella was not an option because the bread was far too dense. Fortunately, there is a soup called ribollita that adores rock-hard stale bread.
Ingredients for Ribollita
A day-old (or, in our case, several days old) slice of bread is used to thicken the leftover veggies in the Tuscan white bean soup known as ribollita.
Onion, carrots, tomatoes, white beans, rosemary, and kale form the foundation of my recipe. I chop the leftover bread into cubes and add it toward the end to create a thick, hearty Tuscan bean soup that is ideal for a chilly fall evening.
Tips for Tuscan Bean Soup
- Utilize the food in your pantry. Use what you have on hand to make Tuscan white bean soup, one of my favorite pantry recipes. Replace 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand. No new rosemary? Use dried thyme or add some fresh thyme while the soup is simmering. If you don’t have any kale, leave it out or substitute another leafy green. Replace canned beans with cooked dried beans, or add a Parmesan rind to the soup as it simmers for more umami flavor. Since this recipe is adaptable, there’s no way to go wrong.
- The bread should be homemade. I suggest using this no-knead bread recipe if you want to prepare this Tuscan soup completely from scratch, including the bread. It turns out excellent even if you’ve never baked bread before, with a golden exterior and soft center that are enticing on the first day and ideal for this soup once they’ve gone bad.
- Good leftovers are plentiful. This ribollita recipe yields roughly three substantial portions, but the next time I will double it. I only wished I had more because the leftovers for lunch the next day were so good!
Tuscan White Bean Soup
|10 minutes to prepare
50 minutes for cooking
total of one hour
This recipe for simple Tuscan soup can be altered. Please feel free to use any vegetables, greens, or herbs you have on hand in place of the combinations I’ve mentioned below. For recommendations, refer to the post above.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium Roma or vine tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 large lacinato kale leaves, thinly sliced, coarse stems removed
- 4 thick slices of stale ciabatta bread, cubed
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions For Ribollita
- Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a big pot. Cook, stirring periodically, for about 4 minutes or until the onion is tender after adding the onion and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Add the garlic, rosemary, and carrots by stirring. Cook for about 4 more minutes, lowering the heat as needed to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and an additional couple of pinches of salt and pepper are added. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the tomatoes are juicy and tender. After adding the wine, give it a minute or so to cook off.
- After incorporating the beans, add the vegetable broth. Stirring regularly, simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
- Add the kale, bread cubes, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar after the carrots are soft. Continue to simmer for a while longer until the kale wilts.
- Serve hot in large dishes after seasoning to taste. If desired, grate some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
- To make a larger quantity, double this recipe. For up to two days, keep leftovers in the refrigerator.
- About 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes can be replaced with fresh tomatoes.