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An Easy Ribollita Recipe | Ribollita is a hearty and healthy Tuscan soup made by adding bread to vegetable soup. It's a classic recipe for a good reason: it is irresistibly delicious.

Ribollita (Italian Vegetable and Bread Soup)

Ribollita is a hearty and healthy Tuscan soup made by adding bread to vegetable soup. It's an irresistibly delicious recipe that has been around for centuries. Ribollita has a long history in Tuscany, some people believe that the soup goes back to the Middle Ages. The soup gets it name from the Italian word for "reboiled", since the soup was originally made by taking day old vegetable soup and adding bread to thicken it. It was a meal made of very common and inexpensive ingredients, while also being hearty enough to fill you up. The combination of these factors is likely why the soup has been made for centuries.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian soup, ribollita
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Large White Onions
  • 1 cup chopped Carrots
  • 1 cup chopped Celery
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 3-4 cloves crushed Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans Cannellini beans
  • 2 cups chopped Tomato I used fresh, but canned is ok too
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 5-7 cups of Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Parmesan Rind
  • 3 cups chopped Swiss Chard or Kale
  • 3-4 large inch thick slices of Tuscan Bread
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • I like to garnish with some fresh Basil

Instructions

  1. First take one of your onions, and chop it so that you have one cup of chopped onions.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons in a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Once heated, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper, and let the vegetables sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft and just starting to gain a little color. You may want to reduce the heat a little once the veggies get going.
  3. Keep an eye on the sautéing vegetables while you slice the remaining two onions. You want to have round slices that will hold their shape and not fall apart. You can probably get 8-9 slices out of a large onion. Set aside.
  4. Drain and rinse one can of the beans, then place in a food processor to puree. If you don't have a food processor you can mash with a fork or potato masher. Pureeing the beans helps to give the soup its distinctive texture. Drain the rinse the second can of beans, but leave those beans whole.
  5. By now your vegetables should be nicely sautéed. Stir in the oregano, tomatoes, and tomato paste, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the pot, and bring the soup to a steady simmer. Add the parmesan rind, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
    How to Make Ribollita
  7. Arrange your oven racks so that your pot will fit in your oven. Heat your oven to 500 degrees.
  8. Place the slices of bread on top of the soup, arranging them in a single flat layer so they do not overlap. I like to cut the slices of bread in half to make this easy.
    How to Make Ribollita | Layering the bread over the vegetable soup
  9. Next, arrange the onions on top the bread, letting them overlap slightly. You want the liquid of the soup to be just reaching the onions, if it isn't, go ahead an add more broth to the soup. Now take that 1/4 cup of olive oil, and brush half of it over the onions.
    How to Make Ribollita | The onion layer
  10. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan on top.
    How to Make Ribollita | The onion layer
  11. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. Check the amount of liquid in the pot, adding more if necessary. You want the liquid to be just reaching those onions - it is better to have extra liquid than to have your soup dry out or overcook. Next brush the remaining olive oil over onions, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return the soup to the oven for another 20-25 minutes, until the onions are golden brown.
    How to Make Ribollita | When the onions are done
  12. Remove the soup from the oven, and stir it up. It is meant to be very thick, but you can always add more broth if you find it to be too thick. Sometimes I just top off each bowl of soup with a few tablespoons of extra broth.
    An Easy Ribollita Recipe | Ribollita is a hearty and healthy Tuscan soup made by adding bread to vegetable soup. It's a classic recipe for a good reason: it is irresistibly delicious.
  13. Traditionally Ribollita is served with olive oil poured in the shape of the letter "C" on top, and no cheese.  I however, I do like to sprinkle Parmesan over the soup. Please don't tell the Italians. I also garnish with some fresh basil with adds a burst of fresh flavor to the soup.

Recipe Notes

Usually red onions are placed on top of ribollita, but I prefer white, so I used white. I used swiss chard, but you could opt to use kale or cabbage. Black cabbage is traditionally used. I would recommend against using spinach since it doesn't hold up as well and may get too soggy and fall apart. Traditionally this soup is made in a ceramic pot, but any oven-safe pot will work.