By: Jasmine Boni-Ball Writer & Journalist | Specialist Fashion & Travel

Defined as the ultimate Tuscan bread soup, Ribollita has seen preparations since the Middle Ages. This local dish was born from the tradition of reusing Pane Toscano (“Tuscan bread’), which as a result of its consistency, makes the perfect ingredient in soups and recipes where it can be soaked or made softer. Join chef Francesco Marrucelli as he creates this Italian winter-warmer, making it the ultimate choice for comfort food. 

The key ingredient is the cannellini beans coated in sizzling Extra-virgin olive oil, laced with chopped garlic and rosemary for fragrance. The bean purée and chunky vegetables attain to Ribollita's thick consistency, magnified by the stale bread pieces stirred in after. Cavolo nero — tangy kale grown in Tuscany, rich in vitamins — brings a slightly bitter taste to this dish. Serve this Ribollita with an olive oil dressing for a truly Italian heart-warmer.

 If you’re interested in learning the secrets of Tuscan cuisine, there is no better place than the fully-staffed Estate of Petroio. As the resident chef of this estate, Francesco provides guests with a once-in-a-lifetime-gastronomy experience. From customised menus surrounding traditional Tuscan flair to cooking workshops and wood-fire pizza classes, the estate offers travellers the possibility to explore the flavours that put this regional cuisine on the map.


Kitchen recipes

Ribollita

Serves 4 - Cook in 2 hours, plus overnight to soak beans

Ingredients

Beans

- 125g cannellini or borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and whole
- Sprig of rosemary
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper

Ribollita

- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Bunch of parsley, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery head, chopped
- 250g carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 red onions, peeled and choppe
- 400g tin peeled plum tomatoes, drained
- 1kg cavolo nero, without a stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 loaf of stale rustic bread, torn or cut
- Salt and pepper

Preparation

Step 1

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, adding garlic clove, a sprig of rosemary, beans (drained from their soaking water), and enough water to cover. Cover the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat for 1 hour. Once finished, season with salt and pepper, and remove the garlic clove and rosemary. Remove half of the beans – keep them apart as we will add them whole to the soup at the end. Using a hand blender, puree the remaining beans and water in the saucepan – creating a broth which we will use later on.

Step 2

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the parsley, garlic, celery, carrot, and onion. Fry for 15 minutes, add the tomatoes and continue to cook and stir on a gentle heat for 20 minutes. Add the cavolo nero and bean broth which we pureed earlier, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 30 minutes. When the soup begins to boil, remove the cover and continue to cook for another 45 minutes, mixing continuously. Season with salt and pepper, and mix in the whole beans we put aside at the beginning.

Step 3

Take the stale bread (either torn or cut), lay a few slices on the bottom of a large bowl, and cover with a few ladles of soup. Repeat this, layering bread and soup, until you finish the ingredients. Cool at room temperature before placing in a refrigerator covered with cling film for at least two hours.

Step 4

Remove the ribollita from the fridge and pour into a saucepan, bringing to a boil. Serve with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Buon Appetito!


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