I enjoy homemade soups all year round but over winter there's nothing better than a big bowl of warming soup, filled with lots of vegetable goodness to warm the body and the soul. I just finished making a pot of Ribollita and I thought I would share my recipe and serving process with you.
If you haven't tried Ribollita before, your really should. Its an Italian soup commonly called a peasants soup and Ribollita means "reboiled"as any leftovers are reboiled over and over for days until the soup is finished. Its made with lots of simple vegetables and thickened with stale bread. Its a traditional Italian recipe and everyone makes it differently but the principal is always the same.
I envision Italian women having a pot of this on the stove all the time, simmering away ready to feed their family or guests. Its hearty, healthy and made with inexpensive ingredients.
I like to make up a big batch of Ribollita and then I decant and heat up each serving as required. The flavour of the soup still intensifies over days without constant reboiling and the vegetables retain their shape and texture. I add my cut up stale bread, or bread stick to the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over, so that the bread really absorbs the liquid and doesn't go too "gluggy".
As for ingredients, I keep it relatively simple, using cannellini beans, carrots, celery, onion and leek (I know one or the other suffices but I like both), kale, tin tomatoes, fennel seeds, garlic, a bay leaf, olive oil and some vegetable stock which I also make myself.
Don't be afraid to add different vegetables, its all about using what you have on hand. It also works well with cabbage, potato, silverbeet, spinach, parsnip and swede so its a great recipe for using up those leftover vegetables before a new grocery shop.
I use tinned cannellini beans, purely because they cook quicker but dried beans work just as well, just don't forget to soak them the night before to soften and simmer them for longer (about 1 hour). Because I love all these vegetables, I roughly cut them, no fancy slicing and dicing. I don't mind the rustic textures but you might like to dice them small and even.
The best part about making Ribollita is, its gives you a chance to clean out those vegetables at the end of the week so there's no waste and then you have a good supply of homemade soup to enjoy for days (much better than a satchel of Cup of Soup for lunch I tell you). Plus you can heat up just what you need as your family wanders in from school/work and you can warm them up healthily with little fuss.
One of the main reasons I love this soup is the addition of the bread. My mum only made tin tomato soup when I was growing up and the only way to make it palatable to me was to add torn bread slices to soak it up. Mum thought I was weird but the flavour of the "Big Red Tomato" soup was just too overpowering for me :)
I generally use a bread stick or bread rolls to thicken my soup, something with a nice thick crust. You can always cut up the bread and freeze it ready to add to your Ribollita whenever you make a batch, so again there's no waste.
Each and every mouthful of this Ribollita soup is delicious and its so simple that you will never buy canned soup again. If you would like to try my Ribollita recipe, you can download it HERE or right click on the image below and save it to your computer for later:
When I serve my Ribollita,  I add the torn bread to my bowl, pour the soup over the bread and stir to combine. I then give it a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and I can sit back and enjoy its simple and flavour packed deliciousness :) Enjoy!
Happy cooking :)

1 comment

  1. Thank you Rose for this recipe. I had to have a little giggle when you mentioned adding bread to the bought tomato soup. I grew up being fed "sopa de tomato e pao", it was my grandmothers recipe, to use up old bread. The tomato soup was wonderful and quite runny until you added the bread and then topped it with a little olive oil, so yummy. Take care, Guida.


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