Tuscan Ribollita: a traditional recipe


Tuscan Ribollita: a traditional recipe

Olio Farchioni
5 from 5 votes
One of the most popular traditional dishes.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 120 kcal


  • Earthenware pot or saucepan
  • Blender


  • 400 g Dried cannellini beans (or 750 g canned beans)
  • 300 g Stale Tuscan bread
  • 1 bunch Black cabbage
  • 1/4 Savoy cabbage
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 2 Potatoes (small)
  • 3 Peeled tomatoes
  • 1 Onion (large)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • to taste Fresh rosemary
  • to taste Fresh thyme
  • 2 l Vegetable broth (or hot water)
  • to taste Extra-virgin olive oil
  • to taste Salt
  • to taste Pepper (optional)


  • Soak the beans 12 hours before starting the preparation (if using canned beans, there will be no need to soak them, just drain the water inside).
  • Drain the beans and boil them (45 to 60 minutes, depending on the kind of beans you are using) with water and rosemary.
  • Drain them and set the cooking water aside.
  • Blend half of the beans with a food processor.
  • Set aside both the bean puree and the whole beans.
  • If you wish, prepare a vegetable broth to add to the bean water.
  • Finely mince the carrots, celery and onion then sauté the mix in a saucepan for about 1 minute with 3-4 tablespoons of oil.
  • Add diced potatoes and fresh thyme.
  • Let everything brown for 1 minute, add tomatoes and let it brown for 1 more minute.
  • Add black cabbage, chard, and savoy cabbage after cutting them in pieces.
  • Add the bean water and let everything simmer for 2 hours on low heat.
  • If needed, add the remaining hot bean water or hot vegetable broth.
  • After 2 hours, the soup will be ready.
  • Add the bean puree and leave on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the whole beans.
  • Dilute again with hot vegetable broth or bean water.
  • Leave over low heat for another 30 minutes.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Take an earthenware pot or a saucepan.
  • Lay stale bread on the bottom and cover with a few ladles of soup.
  • Keep adding one layer of stale bread and one layer of soup until the whole pot is full.
  • Seal with foil and let the ribollita stand for at least 3 hours.
  • Add more broth and some EVO oil.
  • Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.
  • If necessary add salt and pepper.
  • Serve hot, after sprinkling with more EVO oil.

Everybody in Italy knows and appreciates Ribollita. It is an ancient Tuscan recipe from peasant cuisine whose main ingredients are stale bread and vegetables (savoy cabbage, black cabbage and beans). It was prepared on Fridays – Friday is the “lean day” according to Catholic tradition – with leftovers from the day before which were cooked several times: first just the vegetables, then stale bread was added for a double boiling (hence ri-bollita). The secret of the tastiness of this dish? It improves with each boiling!

Ribollita: a few tips

Preparing Ribollita is easy but it takes some time: it is important to follow instructions step by step and to keep a few small tricks in mind.

  • You can use any fall or winter vegetables you have on hand or left over.

  • At the end of cooking Ribollita will have a semi-solid appearance.  If you like, you can add a little broth to make it less thick.

  • Ribollita can be safely frozen and enjoyed later on: make a good supply!

  • You should not add bread If you freeze it. Whenever you want to eat it, just thaw the vegetable preparation and add bread; it will taste as if it had been freshly made!

Extra virgin olive oil: sprinkle it on your Ribollita!

Extra virgin olive oil is a cook’s best friend: it enhances any recipe and provides a fresh, well-defined flavor. Moreover, different EVO oils can be paired with different types of dishes, depending on the intensity of their flavor. At the same time, EVO oil is an ally of our physical well-being:

  • Extra virgin olive oil helps fight bad cholesterol.

  • EVO oil is rich in antioxidants and counteracts cellular aging.

  • Extra virgin olive oil is highly digestible and does not weigh on your liver.

We recommend sprinkling a particularly tasty oil on Ribollita, but only after cooking. It will add a powerful flavor to the soup, which will marvelously combine with the sweeter, delicate flavor of  the other ingredients such as cabbage or potato.

We selected Olio Extra Vergine d’Oliva Il Casolare Fruttato Intenso: with its vivid color, great fragrance and flavor of freshly pressed olives, it is an ideal addition to our Ribollita.

Now it’s your turn! Get to work, and prepare your winter supply of Ribollita. It will take some time but it will be worth it!

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