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Oct 31, 2006 08:21 PM

Lidia's Ribollita recipe?

I'm going to try my hand at making ribollita as a first course for 12 people and have been studying a number of recipes. I want to make an all vegetable version, such as this one from Lidia Bastianich.
One interesting version ended with the leftovers of the reboiled bread soup fried like hash in a skillet with copious quantities of olive oil for a fourth meal.

I'll use all cavalo nero (dino kale aka black cabbage), if I can find some locally, instead of a mix of chard and kale. What other suggestions and tips do you have?

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  1. I don't know about this recipe. Where's the seasoning? Maybe it's great with only water and veg and olive oil and bread, but there's not even any garlic. It's not served with cheese that I can see either.

    I don't mind the veggies only, but think there needs to be some herbs or garlic or pepper and cheese. I could, however, be totally wrong, as I often am.

    1. I have made that recipe many times and it's the only one I can find that tastes like ribollita does in Italy. Ribollita doesn't call for herbs and definitely not cheese, though some use garlic, often rubbing the bread with it.

      This is a fantastic, traditional recipe.

      I think I'll make it this weekend.

      Tip: make sure your beans aren't old.

      2 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        Thanks, I thought the simpler the better to be closer to the food of the rural poor. La ribollita will be followed by roast belly prepared porchetta style which will be very rich and redolent with garlic and herbs, so I though this would be a good start and a contrast. Some recipes suggest adding a parmesan rind to the pot. I often do this when I make vegetable soups for subtle richness.

        I just posted to the General topics board asking about Tuscan olive oils for this dish. Please weigh in if you have an opinion.

        1. re: C. Hamster

          "Ribollita doesn't call for herbs and definitely not cheese..."

          Hmm, that must be why, every time I ate it in Tuscany, it had cheese in it, and a big ole piece of rosemary, hey?

        2. I just made a version of this soup last week, roughly following the Tuscan bean soup recipe in the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. It was wonderful, and really perfect for the weather.
          It called for way more garlic than I care for, and rosemary, sage and bay. I subbed rosemary and oregano and had no bay so I did without. It was still very balanced, perhaps the homemade stock vegetable stock or water traditional?
          As far as the bread, I had a loaf of seeded wheat from Della Fattoria diced up and in my freezer, so I toasted that off and added the bread last. The seeds gave a wholesome, nutty texture and flavor, good, but a little distracting. I definitely felt like I was getting my proper servings of vegies and whole grains that day!
          I also added a combination of homemade roasted tomatoes, and peeled fresh tomatoes. This cooked down really well, and added a lot of flavor.
          I used chard that I had on hand (I had everything on hand, even the cranberry beans in my freezer from last fall, it was like free food! I love that!) but will definitely buy cavolo nero soon to make it again.
          I have a quart sitting in my freezer, will have to try pan frying as you mentioned.
          Didn't add cheese at the end, but I've seen many recipes that do and it sounds good. Don't remember the option of cheese when I had it in Italy...also, didn't add additional olive oil only because I'd already used it pretty liberally along the way.
          Please report back, I love this soup and crave it every cold weather season!

          4 Replies
          1. re: rabaja

            Some of the recipes that add cheese broil it on a slice of bread ala french onion soup.

            P.S. I'm keeping my eyes open for day-old markdowns on Della Fattoria bread!

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I would think this would make it hard for the bread to dissolve into the soup ...

              1. re: C. Hamster

                The typical progression of meals I've seen described for ribollita is

                Day 1 - vegetable soup
                Day 2 - leftover vegetable soup poured over stale or toasted bread (with or without cheese)
                Day 3 - reboil soup and bread together to become a porridge-like consistency
                Day 4 - fried in a skillet like a crusty hash (only one reference mentioned this)

                My guest will get the Day 3 version, and whoever ends up staying overnight will have the hash for breakfast if there's anything leftover.

                P.S. This is from my reading. I've never tasted or cooked ribollita before!

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  my toasted cubes broke down in the hot soup within fifteen minutes. I just let it sit, then gave it a stir, it all melted together and smelled great. The seeds were...interesting. Very nutty/crunchy.
                  Of course you weren't talking about that, were you? Sorry, can't delete my post!

            2. I have made Lidia's recipe, but with Escarole instead of Chard. The sauteed onion & tomato base provide a nice-well-rounded flavor (not to mention the other aromatics: carrot & celery), so we didn't miss the garlic. It was terrific, simple and very inexpensive. I think I'll whip this up with the escarole that's in the fridge this weekend.

              12 Replies
              1. re: foodiegrl

                Do you use just one tablespoon of tomato paste?

                The irony of adding an expensive Tuscan olive oil to this inexpensive dish isn't lost on me. Wish we paid Italian peasant prices for olive oil around here. (g)

                Jaccard thread -

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I don't remember going "off recipe" for anything besides the escarole, so I would assume I did. Though, I tend to freeze and save my tomato paste in blobs a little bigger than 1 Tablespoon, so it could have been about 1.5 T. I use Bariani olive oil from the Alemany market, and it's very suitable for this recipe - bright, grassy & lots of flavor. At $9.00 per 500ml, it's considerably more reasonable than the imported stuff.

                  1. re: foodiegrl

                    I decided to use the fruity Sagra (Italy, Spain, Greece) EVOO for the cooking part and Grati's Vertrice for the table. I picked up the Vertrice from Rare Wine Co. yesterday. The Vertrice was recommended of the three Grati olive oils for this purpose when I called on the phone. In the RWC office, I mentioned again that I was using it for ribollita and that got the attention of Gregory who turned out to be a wealth of information. I won't be able to make use of his advice this time, but I'll pass it on.

                    He recommended Phipps Ranch cannelini beans, local to us in Half Moon Bay. He said they're always fresh, absolutely clean with no need to pick them over, cook up uniformatly, and pure flavor. He said he soaks them overnight and then cooks them on top of the stove in terracotta as slowly as possible. He said that the terracotta pot has made a big difference both in flavor and better texture.

                    I mentioned that I was riffing on Lidia's recipe. He said that his own version at home is based on Faith Willinger's recipe from Red, White and Greens, which luckily is on line. He likes a higher proportion of Savoy cabbage, so I picked up a small head today to refresh my pot.

                    I asked him about the Phase 4, ribollita fried in a pan. He said that he's only seen that at Da Delfina (the chef was quoted about this in the reference I read) and felt it might be unique to that kitchen.

                    When I left, one of the other staffers bid me farewell saying that I was going to hate them for getting me addicted to Tuscan olive oil!

                2. re: foodiegrl

                  I like the idea of escarole.

                  Since Melanie speaks of the "rural poor" in her post, is this a Terra Madresque dinner in honor of the conference going on in Italy now?

                  The Fatted Calf newsletter this week mentions a rustic pasta dish they ate being one from "isolation and poverty".

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    No, although it well could be. It's a dinner to match up with some Tuscan wines I've had for a long time. Here's tomorrow's menu -

                    SUPER TUSCANS
                    Bacchus Wine Tasting Society
                    Sunday, November 12, 2006

                    NV Prosecco

                    Crostini Neri alla Chiantigiana
                    Pecorino Toscano e Carpaccio di Bietole Rosso
                    Carpione di Zucche Fritte all'Aceto e Menta
                    Fatted Calf Toscano
                    2004 Teruzzi & Puthod Vernaccia San Gimignano, $11
                    2004 Poggiarellino Rosso di Montalcino, $11
                    2004 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico, $17

                    La Ribollita
                    1990 Badia a Coltibuono "Sangioveto" (100% Sangiovese), $80
                    1990 Ruffino "Il Ducale" Chianti Classico Riserva Gold (90% Sangiovese/7% Canaiolo/3% Malvasia Bianco) , $90

                    Pancetta di Maiale in Porchetta
                    Schiacciata coll'Uva
                    Insalata Mista
                    1990 Fattoria Rodano "Monna Claudia" (50% Sangiovese/50% Cabernet Sauvignon). $25
                    1990 Ruffino "Cabreo Il Borgo" (70% Sangiovese/30% Cabernet Sauvignon), $75
                    1990 Tierrabianca "Campaccio" (70% Sangiovese/30% Cabernet Sauvignon), $90
                    1990 Sonia Checcucci Latini "Il Latini" (Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon), $136
                    1990 Tignanello (80% Sangiovese/15% Cabernet Sauvignon/5% Cabernet Franc), $200

                    Torta di Mele all'Olio
                    1998 Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, 375 ml, $36


                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      This sounds spectacular. After being hypnotized by Bittman bread for the past 2 days, it's fun to read about something else....although La Ribollita doesn't fit the no bread category.

                      I just came across a recipe for "polpettine di pane" in Molto Italiano by Batali. The recipe on the next page....La Ribollita. The bread dumplings sound wonderful. Will have to try.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        The polpettine de pane is from Batali's Poverty Is Delicious segment.

                        Here's a link to Batali's ribollita recipe -

                        This hasn't been inexpensive. The organic vegetables have set me back about $35, Tuscan 2005 EVOO was $20 for 500ml, day-old bread from Downtown Bakery, $2. Having a tire blow-out on my way to Rare Wine Company cost me almost $700 to replace all four tires.

                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                        There's a question on the SF board, so I thought I'd complete the loop on this thread. Here's the dinner photo set, including pictures of the ingredients,

                        If I did it again, I would resist the urge to add the escarole. It had a juicy, crunchier quality that I didn't like in the texture. The Tuscan olive oil was so peppery and just a fabulous condiment oil. And, we did try it as hash the next morning.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            My recollection is that I pressed out some patties from the cold ribollita, straight from the fridge and fried 'em in a lot of oil in a non-stick pan. Cold, they formed up quite solid. The best parts were the bits of bread that got crusty and brown in the oil. If I were planning for morning hash next time, I would add some more bread to the ribollita before putting it away.

                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                            It's almost 8am in the midwest and your photos made me hungry.
                            I would love the recipes from your other dishes and the schiaccata. My grandmother used to and my mom still does make their own regional version of ribollita called zuppa and it is vegetarian too. In their region however, they used to use the bones or very end of their homemade prosciutto (we still do) which gives a different, albeit delicious, flavour from their original version. Then, whatever little bit of meat were on the bone break down and intersperse the veg. Delicious.
                            Question also:
                            Crostini Neri alla Chiantigiana (what were these?)

                            1. re: itryalot

                              It's taken me more than 14 months to post the pix, so please don't hold your breath on recipes! Your grandma and mom's sopu sounds lovely. I did find myself quite taken with the green, veggie tastes of the ribollita.

                              The crostini neri were topped with a chicken liver spread, said to be a classic Tuscan recipe. All the dishes came out great but the winter squash, won't make that one again.

                              Here's my old post on the beet carpaccio.

                              And, on the Wine board, more about the wines,