Ribollita – Tuscan vegetable and bread soup

4
1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

Canellini beans

  • 150g of cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and cut in half (still attached at the root)
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • salt

Ribollita

  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into sixths
  • 3 cavolo nero leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 savoy cabbage leaves, or swiss chard, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 100g of stale bread, torn into rough 3cm chunks
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

1
Cook the cannellini beans in a pan of salted water with the onion, garlic, bay, thyme and a healthy pinch of salt for 45 minutes, or until just undercooked. Drain and reserve the cooking water. Discard the onion, garlic and herbs
2
Add a splash of olive oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Gently sweat the onion, garlic, carrot and celery with the herbs, chilli flakes, fennel and a pinch of salt until soft but without colour (about 10 minutes)
3
Add the tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the beans and reserved bean stock, topping up with water as needed. Simmer for 30 minutes
4
After this time, add the potato, cavolo nero, savoy cabbage and bread and simmer for a further 15 minutes, or until the potato is cooked. Taste and season with salt and pepper
5
For best results, chill the soup after cooking and reheat the next day. Serve with a generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper