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Ribollita Re-Engineered

Ribollita Re-Engineered

I know it is a just a little "HOT" outside this week. It is so humid in Hong Kong you could literally cut the air with a knife.

You step outside, after being in the aircon all day, and the heavy damp hot air just takes your breath away. Typhoons, humidity and rain are all hitting Asia this week. I hope my dear friends around the world are okay and sending positive thoughts your way to those that have been hit by these storms.

Ribollita Re-Engineered

Why fight it when mother nature refuses to cooperate.  Just shut the windows, turn on the aircon or your fans and let's get cooking.

While visiting Italy, I ate this lovely homestyle Tuscan bread soup called Ribollita (3 times, I loved it so much). Ribollita means twice boiled in Italian as it originated as a peasant dish to use up maybe minestrone or vegetable soup from the previous day.

I have tasted many different variations to this Tuscan soup but it pretty much has these main ingredients; leftover bread, cannelloni beans, assorted root vegetables, cavolo nero (black kale), cabbage, celery, and onions. Many people have different variations such as the addition of tomatoes, zucchini, swiss chard, or really any other vegetables as this is great chance for you to clean out your refrigerator (Cleaning? You might as well as what else are you left to do on those dog days of summer that are too hot and steamy to even go outside). You can add any vegetable that your little heart desires to this soup. The sky is the limit. Please come follow along to Siena, Italy with me to find out the little secrets to this delicious Tuscan Bread Soup called Ribollita.

Ribollita Re-Engineered

I know that many recipes have the addition of Parmesan cheese to this Tuscan bread soup but the chef at a lovely little restaurant in Siena said it would be sinful for me to add cheese to his soup. Instead, he suggested that I drizzle a healthy dose of olive oil on top. (Woo Hoo! Another opportunity to drizzle fresh EVOO on a dish, I was all about that!) His Tuscan bread soup was very rich and flavorful, even without the addition of parmesan.

Do you know how some dishes taste even better the second day? This is one of these dishes. All the flavors mingle together and it has such a hearty vegetable broth that you will not even miss the meat. The cannelloni beans are packed with protein so this is a fantastic dish for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

The recipe I will share with you is formulated from taste testing 3 versions of ribollita in Italy. (Once in a restaurant in Radda, once in Siena and once in Florence. The soup in Siena was the best.) Mr. Anonymous is very patient as I swirl and swizzle my soup and dissect it of many of its contents to determine what ingredients lie inside. The other patrons in the restaurant are now looking at me with a bit of interest, but how else could I ever re-engineer this lovely Tuscan bread soup in Bam's Kitchen.

Ribollita Re-Engineered

Ribollita Re-Engineered

Serves 4 adults or 2 hungry teenagers

(All measurements are approximations or more like a dash of this and dash of that)

  • 300 grams (approx. 10.6 ounces) of cannellini (white beans)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (I could not really be sure if it had this in it or not but everything is better with garlic!)
  • 1 head of black leaf kale (also known as cavolo nero) chopped
  • ¼ a head of Savoy cabbage
  • 2 cups of chopped swiss chard
  • 2 potatoes chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 peeled chopped plum tomatoes (I think they were canned)
  • EVOO (the really good extra virgin olive oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one thick slice of stale Tuscan bread for each bowl of soup.

Step 1: Pre-soak the cannelloni beans for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.

Step 2: Boil cannelloni beans in about two quarts of very lightly salted water for 10 minutes then and then simmer for 1-2 hours or until fork tender. (Or alternatively you could use a pressure cooker if you have one- I do not) Do NOT drain the water as you need this to make your soup stock. (or use canned pre-cooked beans to save time)

Bean cooking hint: Adding salt to the cooking water can toughen some beans so you might want to go very easy on the salt, or leave it out entirely.

Step 3: In another large pot, drizzle a little EVOO and sauté the sliced onions and garlic in olive oil until they are a golden color. Then add the  black kale, swiss chard, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, celery and add a little salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes until slightly tender. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.

Step 4: Take out half the beans and puree. Leave the remaining beans whole. Add the pureed beans and whole beans in their cooking water and add to the vegetable pot.

Step 5: Simmer soup slowly and enjoy a glass of wine or 2 to allow the soup to cook for an hour or two or until nice and thick and savory. (Season along the way)

Step 6: Find yourself 4 large rustic earthen ware Tuscan dishes. Place one slice of Tuscan bread in each bowl. Ladle Ribollita soup into the bowl. Drizzle with Ribollita with EVOO and pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Step 7: Pour yourself another glass of wine and enjoy a delicious bowl of Ribollita Re-Engineered.

LESS THAN 30 MINUTE DINNERS

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Ribollita Re-Engineered

By HWC Magazine  ,   

June 20, 2012

  • Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager

Ingredients

cannellini (white beans) -

onion -

garlic -

kale -

swiss chard -

potato -

Carrot -

zucchini -

celery -

plum tomatoes -

tuscan bread -

00:00
  • That sounds truly wonderful – but anything is enhanced when you’re surrounded by scenery like that!
    I learned a trick several years ago from Cook’s Illustrated about cooking dry beans…Add a quarter-cup of salt to the soaking water, as it helps the beans re-hydrate better than water alone. Then drain, rinse, and cook. The beans don’t toughen, and you add your salt to taste later in the process…

    • Marie that is an awesome idea! I will give that a try next time and I hope the others readers do as well. Take care, BAM

  • This sounds wonderful and to be honest pretty perfect for the wintry weather we are having in Australia at the moment. We have been enjoying the summer version of bread and tomatoes in a Panzanella Salad, so this would be right up our alley.

    • I would love to be experiencing some of the comfortable cooler weather of the Auzzie winters right now. This soup might hit the spot.

  • You can always spot a food blogger in a restaurant;) I’m so glad you’ve figured it out, this looks so yummy!! I can’t believe you made soup on such a hot day though! We’ve got cold drizzly rain and have had all spring 😛 xo Smidge

    • You can spot a foodie from a 100 yards as we are rearranging the table setting, getting out of chair and standing on top of it to get just the right shot for the blog. Have a great day, BAM

  • I’ve never tried ribollita, it looks and sounds delicious. I’d quite fancy a bit of pesto dropped on top… Or I wonder if a poached egg would be good? So many options!

    • Pesto drizzle sounds lovely! I might have to give that recipe adaptation a try for next time.

  • Looks delicious…I wish I could say I understand that hot weather – we are hoping it breaks 70 today. Stay cool!

    • Dawn this would be the perfect for dish for you then. I am so jealous. Where are you sitting comfortably at 70 degrees?

  • OMG this looks so amazing and delicious!!

    • Thanks you should try some when the when you get a chance with all of that lovely Mediterranean fresh pressed EVOO in your pantry. Have a great weekend! BAM

  • Definitely more of a hearty winter soup, I’d say…. I think I would be gasping for oxygen in Hong Kong right now. Or just lying in the bath full of cold water!

    • I have the aircon set at 24 degrees and completely comfortable. We will not be able to open the windows back up in Hong Kong until at least September. The dog days are here!

  • Wow, BAM! You nailed it! This is one good ribolita! Let the other customers stare. It’s your meal and you’re free to do with it as you wish. And just look at the results!
    On one of my trips to that area, we happened upon a class whose instructor was lecturing about Il Duomo in Florence. He didn’t mind people listening in, so long as everyone was respectful of his class. The next day, we took a train to spend the day in Siena. As luck would have it, that same class was at the Duomo in Siena. We learned about both cathedrals, their similarities and contrasts.
    Again, BAM, well done!

    • Gratzie John for your kind comments. What a happy accident getting the tour of not one but both places- how fantastic for you. I have some awesome photos of the inside of the Doumo in Siena and I will have to put some of them in my upcoming posts.
      Did you notice on the floor of the Doumo in Siena? There is many beautiful paintings and some are very unique to just Siena? I purchased a olive oil dispenser made by hand and hand painted by a local pottery artist in Siena with one of the designs from the floor of the Doumo. I will always treasure it and my time in Italy. Take care, BAM

      • This recipe looks wonderful & since I don’t have A/C will hold off for our heatwave to break in Boston but it’s definitely one I will be trying. Are you talking about the Doumo where they do the blessings of the horses? Pink marble & all of the mosaics on the floor? I understand we (and you if it’s the same one) were lucky since normally the floors are covered to protect them. Loved Siena & I wish I had found that shop where you bought the olive oil dispenser. That has to be a treasure. Stay cool.

      • Dear Dianes Kitchen Table, When we visited the Doumo in Siena most of the floor was covered but they had areas section off so you could view the floors with the pink marble and all of the mosiacs on the floor and even the one with the horses. It was beautiful. Later this month I will do a posting and show the pottery. I think you will really love it.

  • This sounds really wonderful. I especially like the part about drinking a glass of wine or two while the soup cooks 😉

    • My cooking always tastes better after a glass of wine or two, that my secret…

  • I love how you reconstructed this awesome Italian dish my friend 😀
    It looks perfect!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thanks CCU! In Australia are you doing and Auzzie school system exams, IB or other? Wishing you the best Miss procrastinator!

  • Nice, hearty soup that I would definitely like to try! YUM!

    • Thanks Sibella. I also learned how to make some yummy individual serving size tiramisu cups and will be sharing that soon.

      • Mmmm, sounds very good! Can’t wait! 🙂

  • I discovered Ribolata a couple of years ago – perfect for Kale and borlotti beans, both of which we grow, but fo rsome odd reason I’ve never added the bread, so thank you!!! Oh and I’d be happy to have a glass of that wine you had with your meal as well 🙂

    • I am sure I will be seeing this dish out of Promenade Plantings Kitchen real soon and it will be the freshest ever. I have had this dish with a nice white white from San Gimignano and also a lovely Pinot Nero from Chianti. Both were lovely but the The Pinot Nero was outstanding.

  • Oh, this is going on my favorites list – I love Tuscan Bread Salad (Panzanella) and this sounds like the perfect bread version of it!!! So excited (if you couldn’t tell by the three exclamation points.)

    • I was just how amazed on how simple the dish but how complex the flavors. I am sure that splash of EVOO to finish off the dish is what made it taste so rich.

  • Your re-engineered dish sounds terrific. Do you remember the name of your restaurant in Radda? I have a friend that lives there and she got us a villa to stay at with friends on the outskirts of town on one of our trips.

    • The Restaurant in Radda was called Relais Fattoria Vignale and it is in a beautiful farm house with the most stunning views from the terrace you will ever see. Here is the link for further details as they even host cooking classes. http://www.vignale.it/eng/restaurant.htm

      • I’m sure my friend has been there…I’m sure you had a great time.

  • Your ribollita looks delicious! This post inspired me to make it soon, for Friday dinner. 🙂

    • Thank Marina. If you make enough it will taste even better as left overs on Saturday. (Just keep out the bread until you are ready to serve) Have a great weekend! BAM

  • Definitely a hearty soup, almost a stew? Your photos are gorgeous. I swear you had to lay on your back on the ground to get that one pic looking straight up the buildings to the sky!

    Keep writing…

    • You can spot me miles away taking photos. A girl has to do what a girl has to do to get that perfect shot. Take care, BAM

  • I love ribolita! I had it a few times in Tuscany… what a wonderful dish. Glad that you recreated it! I should give it a go sometime soon..

    • Just give it a go and try my method for dash of this and dash of that. It is all good.

  • First of all what a wonderful space u have here, I a glad I found it!!
    You know I have been in US for a long time now but I still understand the whether u talking about, these days my hubby is in japan and he is telling me about the whether there… You all stayy inside cool,dry n safe!!
    this looks like such ahearty soup…Delicious!!

    • Thank you Reem and I am so glad you stopped by. I also have been enjoy your website as well. The weather is quite dismal in Hong Kong at the moment, but this is summer in Asia. It is typhoon season. I am staying indoors and enjoying the aircon while cooking in Bam’s Kitchen. Take care, BAM

  • Delicious photos!

    • I had to stand on my chair to get one of those shots. You can spot a foodie blogger a mile away!

  • A healthy drizzle (glug) of olive oil on this? Yes please! I’ve never heard of ribollita before actually – thanks for introducing me to it… it looks wonderful!

  • A healthy glug for me please! Any excuse to try more of that fresh olive olive. Yum Yum! This is a great dish to make when you are cleaning out the refrigerator and you need to use up all of those vegetables.

  • Aahh, this looks delicious, Bam. I think the hot weather is creeping up everywhere including here in California. Like what you said, just turn on the aircon. Have a great weekend to you, Bam!

    • I’m sorry for my delayed response. For some reason you were in my spam inbox. Why did wordpress do that to one of my favorite foodies??? Stay cool in the aircon and keep on cooking and writing. Take care, BAM

  • I love bean dishes and this looks so comforting and tasty.

    • Thank you and even thought there is no meat in the is dish it is quite hearty so even my teenagers love it.

  • This sounds amazing! I’ve never actually made ribolita, so I’m happy to have your guidance here. Dishes that taste better as leftovers are fantastic by me, because I rarely have time to cook when I’m actually hungry/have time to eat. Plus, then I can eat those dishes cold on such hot days. I have no problem with cold stews- In fact, I prefer Indian food leftover, straight out of the fridge, especially.

    • Glad to hear I am not the only one that does that. I also love cold spaghetti. I think the flavors are more pronounced when cold vs hot. Or maybe that I am just too lazy to heat it up we will never really know but I am glad I am not alone…Take Care, BAM

  • I’d love to be seated at one of those tables in the photo, enjoying a bowl of this soup and a glass of wine, right now. It looks like heaven!

  • Your Ribollita looks fantastically yummy!! and the picture of this place in Siena is a good memory to me. Siena is my favorite city in Tuscany, just after Firenze. Thanks for sharing, Bam!

    • Thanks for stopping by. Actually my favorite area in Italy we visited thus far was in Radda in Chianti. I guess now living in HK with the worlds largest population density I like to get away from the crowds and really enjoyed the laid back views of the countryside. I was also able to do this along the edges of the city of Siena and that was quite nice as well.

  • That looks like a very heary stew, I never tried one of those

    • So many delicious vegetables and the topping with the bread does make it a very hearty soup like stew. Guess what I found yesterday down the backstreets of Wanchai, a Philippine market store with all the goodies. I can’t wait to try some of your delicious dishes, now that I can get the supplies.

  • Really nice recipe – great flavor. I’ve made similar soups, though often leave out the stale bread (mainly because I rarely have it on hand; and yes I know it should be there to be authentic!). I have tons of swiss chard and zucchini on hand at the moment and need to do something with them – I think a version of this soup is coming up! I’ll bet it freezes well, too. Thanks for this.

    • It is so thick with the beans and the vegetables if you dont have the bread- leave it out. (a plus for any gluten intolerant individuals) This soup tastes better the next day and I think it would be great during the end harvest season to freeze and have during the fall. A great way to use up those veggies from the garden. Take care, BAM

  • This looks and so hearty and healthy! Lovely recipe! I am glad you didn’t mind the staring, else we wouldn’t have got this recipe!

    • Thanks Shumalia! Ribollita is great vegetarian dish to try. I am so excited! Guess what I am doing right now? I am soaking my chawal and urad ki dhui da for some lovely dosa. It is my first time so wish me luck and I hope you are around this week, I might have some questions. Take Care, BAM

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