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Ribollita

We all know ribollita as a traditional Tuscan culinary “leftover “dish par excellence. It dates back to the Middle Ages when the nobility used to eat their food in loaves of bread known as “mense”. Once lunch was over, the leftover bread was given to the servants, who mixed it with their ‘peasant’ vegetables and boiled it, resulting in a hearty and tasty soup – a real ribollita! Upto this day  this recipe is an important part of Tuscan home cooking.Family tradition and local customs have created numerous varieties of this tasty dish. In the recipe below, we are going to share with you our family secret so that you can savour this wonderful soup in “ our way “.  Wait for the first signs of cold weather and give yourself the time you need to make ribollita – a dish that can´t be hurried , but is worth the wait!

Ribollita’s essential ingredients are Tuscan curly kale, which traditionally should have “experienced icy conditions” i.e. been frozen over during cold days, cannellini beans and traditional unsalted bread.

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEANS

350 g Dried cannellini beans 

20 g Gagliole Extra virgin olive oil 

1 clove Garlic 

1 sprig Rosemary 

2 l Water 

A pinch of Fine salt 

A pinch of Black pepper 

 

FOR THE SOUP

250 g Savoy cabbage 

300 g Curly kale 

300 g Swiss chard 

220 g Day-old Tuscan bread 

25 g Gagliole Extra virgin olive oil 

180 g Peeled tomatoes 

1 Potato 

80 g Onions 

80 g Carrots 

100 g Celery 

A pinch of Black pepper 

A pinch of Fine salt 

Fresh thyme to taste

 

To prepare the ribollita first cook the cannellini beans. They must be soaked in a bowl full of water overnight, or better still for 24 hours.

Then, heat the olive oil in a large, high-sided pan with the garlic clove and rosemary sprig and add the drained beans.  Cover with water and cook for 1 hour over a low-medium heat with the lid on. At the end of the cooking time, add pepper and salt (it’s better to add salt at the end of the cooking time, or it will harden the beans if added too early). Remove the rosemary sprig, take out some of the beans and set them aside as they need to be added whole at the end.

Blend everything with an immersion mixer to produce a broth to cook the soup with.

Peel and finely chop the onion, wash and finely chop the celery and peel and dice the carrots.

Heat 25 g of olive oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onion, celery and carrots over a moderate heat.  While the onion, celery and carrots are frying, peel and dice the potato. Add the potato cubes to the sauté and continue cooking. While the potato is cooking, put the peeled tomatoes into a bowl and mash them with a fork, then add them to the pan of vegetables.

Meanwhile, prepare the leafy vegetables – cut the savoy cabbage in half, remove the hard inner heart and then cut it into julienne strips. Wash and coarsely chop the chard and lastly wash and chop the kale leaves. Add the savoy cabbage, chard and cabbage to the soup, then pour in the blended bean stock, stir, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. When the soup boils, remove the lid and cook for another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the soup is ready season with salt and pepper, add the set aside whole beans, stir and turn off the heat. Cut the day-old bread into thick slices, place some on the bottom of a bowl or tureen, cover with a couple of ladles of soup, then add another layer of bread and cover with more soup, continuing to alternate layers of bread and soup until all the ingredients have been used. Leave to cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge, covered with cling film for at least 2 hours. After this time, take out the ribollita from the fridge. The bread will have absorbed the soup and the ribollita will have a semi-solid appearance. Pour it into a saucepan, bring to the boil and flavour with thyme leaves. Your ribollita is ready to enjoy with a drizzle of pure Gagliole extra virgin olive oil!

The perfect wine to pair this typical traditional Tuscan recipe with is our newcomer, Chianti Classico Riserva di Gagliole. The simplicity of this soup is enhanced by the elegance and harmonious flavour of this wine.

Enjoy!

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