When I was in Tuscany, I couldn’t resist ordering Tuscan soup often made with slightly stale, but wonderful Italian bread. Their bread is slightly spongy which gives it a unique flavor. My travels there inspired me to create a recipe for Tuscan Bread Soup, which in the Tuscan region is known as Ribollita.
Enjoy this Tuscan Bread Soup Recipe!
- 3 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1 large red onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 stick of celery diced
- 4 medium potatoes skinned and diced
- 5 med sized zucchini diced
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans drained (smoosh some of them)
- 1 leek, (white part cleaned and diced
- 1 bunch of swiss chard leaves cleaned, patted dry and loosely shredded
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale (dark) or any kale cleaned, patted dry and loosely shredded
- 1 savoy cabbage leaves cleaned, patted dry and loosely shredded
- filtered water
- 3 Tablespoons of Italian tomato puree
- 2 days stale Tuscan bread or crostini
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil.
- Saute the onion until it's translucent
- Add all the vegetables except for the cabbage, and chard.
- When all the vegetables have sweated their juice, cover them with hot filtered water.
- Add the shredded cabbage, kale and chard.
- Cover and simmer for 1 hour over medium heat.
- Add the beans, and pepper and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir frequently so that the beans will not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the tomato puree.
- Slice the stale bread and layer it in an earthenware casserole or heavy pot.
- Alternate layers of the bread with the soup until the bread is well soaked.
- Let the soup stand out for 1 day.
- To serve, add the desired quantity to a sauce pot and re-boil it.
Tuscan Hill Towns
The images below are from some of the hill towns we visited. If you’re ever in Italy, make sure to visit.
The history of Tuscan soup
Ribollita means “reboiled” Tuscan bread soup dates back to the middle ages. The soup is made with bread, beans, and vegetables in season. As Tuscany is in the northern area of Italy it’s cooler there and hearty soups are a staple.
The peasants in the Middle Ages who served nobility would take leftover crusts and pieces of Tuscan bread and take it home to feed their families. But first, they would soak each piece in the meat juices of their master’s sumptuous feasts. Once they were in their homes they would leave the bread out while they soaked cannellini beans overnight and pick fresh vegetables out of their meager gardens which they added to the boiling pot. Generous portions of olive oil would be poured on top. The bread, which was by then dry and stale would be dipped in the soup.
In the Tuscan bread soup recipe above, stale bread is layered and left out for a day. You can eat it either way.
What’s Your favorite soup? Please leave a comment below.