Prep time 15 mins
Cook 1 hr (plus re-boiling)
Ribollita is a classic soup from Tuscany, which means re-boiled. It's a soup of vegetables, beans and cavolo nero that is re-boiled with bread to create a thick soup. The more bread you add, the thicker the soup, which should almost have no liquid. Most recipes you'll see white beans, commonly used in Tuscany, and Tuscan kale, or cavolo nero. The best way to serve this soup is to make it, then cook it with the breads the next day, as the flavours really come together and you end up with a very thick stodgy rib-sticking soup, which makes it perfect for the chilly weather.
1 ½ cups white beans, soaked overnight
2 litres quality chicken stock
1 large bunch cavolo nero, stalks trimmed and thinly sliced and leaves torn
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
80g piece of pancetta, diced
Large pinch chilli flakes
2 tsp tomato paste
200g canned tomatoes
Lots of good quality extra-virgin olive oil to serve
4 thick slices of day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed and bread toasted
1. Cover beans completely with stock and top with water to cover if necessary in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, the reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender (about 45 minutes).
2. Heat olive oil in a separate saucepan over medium heat, add onion and pancetta and stir occasionally until very tender. Add tomato paste and chilli, stir to fragrant, then add beans and simmer over low heat until beans are tender (about 45 minutes; you may need to top up with extra water as you go).
3. Add cavolo nero to soup and stir to combine. At this point you can also add any vegetable you like also – carrot, pumpkin, turnip etc would all be great. Ladle the beans and cooking liquid on top and simmer, topping up with a little water as needed, until cavolo nero is very tender. Season soup to taste. You can serve the soup as below now, but it is best when re-boiled the next day.
4. To serve, bring soup to a simmer, and add bread and simmer until soup is thickened. Douse with a god glug of extra-virgin olive oil and serve with lot of parmesan on top.