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Did you know that Ribollita means means 'reboiled' in Italian? It's a Tuscan vegetable soup using a brilliant concept. Make a large pot of soup at the beginning of the week and then, all week long, add leftover meat, vegetables, beans, and bread or pasta from other meals. The soup becomes an ever evolving dish, ready any time for lunch, dinner or a snack.
I've made ribollita in a dozen ways: sometimes with potatoes, sometimes without any meat, always with whatever vegetables are in season. This recipe is a good place to start, but then adjust it to make it your own.
Recipe Tips and Options
- Allow this ribollita soup to change with the season (as I do with other Italian soups like Pasta e Fagioli and Pappa al Pomodoro): asparagus and artichokes in the spring; zucchini and green beans in the summer; butternut squash and fennel in the autumn; and, in the winter, cabbage and kale or Swiss chard.
- The hot Italian sausage adds richness and spice, but it's easy to make a vegetarian version. Just omit the sausage, swap in vegetable broth and add a hearty pinch of red pepper flakes with the garlic in step 3 and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
- If you're serving this over several days, feel free to add more broth if the soup is getting too thick and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Give it a try and I predict that, as in many homes in Italy, this 'reboiled' gem will become a regular item on your weekly menu.
- 3 cups coarsely torn day-old bread sourdough or other crusty bread
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided plus more for drizzling at the end
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots finely chopped
- 3 medium celery ribs finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage uncooked, casings removed if necessary
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch lacinato kale ribs removed and sliced crosswise into ½-inch ribbons (also called Italian Kale, Cavolo Nero, and Tuscan Kale)
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
- 14 ½ ounces cannellini beans or 1 ½ cup cooked cannellini beans
- 8 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese shaved
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place torn bread on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss with your hands to coat. Bake until golden brown, tossing a couple of times, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, sausage and white wine; cook and stir until sausage has cooked through. Add kale, tomatoes, beans, and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide croutons among 6 bowls and ladle soup over. Serve topped with Parmesan shavings and drizzled with olive oil.
- If you prefer a milder soup, use sweet Italian sausage and add red pepper flakes to taste when you add the garlic, sausage and white wine in step 3.
- For a vegetarian version, skip the sausage and use vegetable broth.