Ribollita – Tuscan vegetable and bread soup

1 hour 45 minutes


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


  • 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


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
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)
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
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
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