La Ribollita, A Traditional Winter Tuscan Dish
‘La Ribollita’ is a delectable and traditional winter Tuscan peasant dish that is typically based on stale bread, black cabbage, green cabbage, beans and winter vegetables. It takes some time to prepare and to cook, as well as having a long resting period but your reward will be a dish that is bursting with flavors!
The real ‘ribollita,’ which means ‘reboiled’, respects the Tuscan tradition and must be heated at least twice, as the name of the recipe suggests. The more it is cooked, the tastier it becomes.
As with most traditional Italian dishes, every region and family has their own way of preparing a dish. The recipe I share with you today is based on a family recipe that was shared with me while in Tuscany for our Culinary Adventures and is, therefore, written following the metric system.
Today, ‘La Ribollita’ is one of the most famous recipes of traditional Tuscan cuisine that is simple, authentic, and delicious!
La Ribollita, A Traditional Winter Tuscan Dish.
2.5 – 3hours
16 oz (454 g) dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked
3/4 cup (150 g) extra virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, whole
potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 zucchini, cleaned and cut into small cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into small cubes
2 tomatoes, cut into cubes 2 tomatoes, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (can sub with tomato puree)
1/2 of a medium-sized green cabbage (or savoy cabbage)*
1 medium-sized black cabbage
2 1/2 cups (300 g) Swiss chard, cleaned and cut into thin strips
2 1/2 cups (300 g) spinach, cleaned and cut into thin strips
2 liters of water, plus more if needed
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
300 g day-old Tuscan bread, cut into medium-sized cubes
Cook cannellini beans and prepare all vegetables.
While beans are cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron or stock pot, then add onions and garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown and onions are transparent, begin adding the cut vegetables: first, add potatoes, zucchini, and carrots and sauté for a few minutes; then add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for a 5 minutes; Finally add cabbage, chard and spinach. Mix well with a wooden spoon, and let it sauté for another 5 minutes. Cover completely with water,** add salt and pepper to taste then bring to a boil. Lower the heat and
continue cooking for 2 to 3 hours.
Continue cooking for 2 to 3 hours.
In the meantime, prepare the beans. Puree half of the beans in a vegetable mill and set aside.
Cut bread into medium-sized cubes and set aside. (Bread can also be toasted and rubbed with garlic cloves before cutting)
Once vegetables are cooked, add pureed beans and mix until well combined. Let it cook for another 10 minutes, then add full beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cut bread, mix well with a wooden spoon, and let the mixture rest for 2 hours (or longer).
Preheat oven 356 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Stir the vegetables and bread and add more oil if necessary before placing the pot in the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve in a soup bowl topped with extra virgin olive oil.
- We didn’t have black cabbage so we used a whole savoy cabbage instead. We highly recommend using black cabbage, which is how it’s made traditionally. Black cabbage is a type of Italian cabbage most commonly known as Tuscan cabbage, cavolo nero, or black kale and is considered a superfood.
- We decided to add some pancetta for additional flavor. This is optional.