Monday, January 12, 2009

Zuppe Ribollita - Classic Italian Soup

The heart of winter - what could be better than another hearty soup recipe? This one comes from one of my favorite Italian cookbooks - The Silver Spoon. This is a classic Italian 'thick soup' - the distinctive characteristic being the immersion of one or more slices of bread in the stock with no additional pasta or rice. Ribollita means 're-boiled' in Italian because it originally was made using the previous day's leftover vegetable soup.

Since the recipe called for putting a slice of country-style bread on the bottom of the bowl before putting finishing it in the oven, I decided to make a 'bread bowl' using some Artisan Bread in 5 dough that I had in the refrigerator. I flattened the dough as for pizza and shaped it to fit my soup bowls and then baked them in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

This would have been so perfect if only I would have sprayed the baking dish with some oil first and used more flour when shaping or rolling out the bread! The bread stuck to the dish and was a little hard to spoon out with the soup but it still tasted wonderful. A drizzle of olive oil, some freshly-grated parm on the top and a turn or two of freshly ground pepper - wonderful!

Recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon

The major changes I made were adding more vegetables and stock instead of plain water.

Serves 6-8

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizling
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalk, chopped
5 canned tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
1 fresh thyme sprig or 1 tsp dried thyme
4 potatoes, coarsely diced (about 2 cups)
7.5 cups cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage), shredded Kale or Savoy cabbage are good substitutes
4 cups chicken stock + reserved tomato juices + additional water to = 8-3/4 cups total liquid
2 cups cannelini beans
or 1 cup dry white beans, soaked in cold water overnight and drained
Enough country-style bread slices for the number of people you are serving
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a pan, add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, thyme and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then add the cavolo nero and beans. Pour in 8.75 cups water and season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread in the bottom of an oven-proof soup bowl or small casserole dish and ladle in the soup. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with oil. Add freshly-grated parmesan, if desired.

My Notes: The amount of vegetables I used are doubled from the original recipe. Also, the original recipes called for using plain water. For the cabbage, I used Savoy but I think Kale would probably be closer in texture to cavalo nero.


  1. Love this recipe! Very ingenious with the pizza encrusted bowl!

  2. Oh, that looks sooooo very good. Perfect for our weather, eh?

  3. Greg, is right...perfect for today's weather. The wind is whipping things around as I type. I just love your photo presentation and the red bowls make all of your food pop! Gorgeous pics on the sidebar too!

  4. Thank you, Tartlette!

    Hi, Greg and Marsha. Yes very c-c-c-old here too and getting worse! Definitely soup weather.

  5. Susan, another winning soup. Great idea with the bread! Stay warm!

  6. It looks dekish S.. and I love your new shots at the side:)

  7. That is such a great idea, Susan! I have to do that! I could cheat using pizza from the can?

    Looks so good in the red, ruffled bowl! Great looking soup!

  8. oh it looks so good and that is almost exactly my tuscan minestrone soup that i just LOVE. i am so happy those bowls found you, a match mad in heaven!

    and this cardinal shot on the side bar, OMG FAB!

  9. psst, come on by, i got a little something for you, no cal even~

  10. Looks yummy! Love the way you made a bread bowl.

  11. Looks wonderfully perfect for a cold winter dinner. I'll be trying this soon!

  12. Thank you PigPig and Donna! Hope you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for visiting.

  13. I wish that was in my hands right now. I'm so cold and that looks wonderfully warm. What a great idea with the pizza dough!

  14. Thank you, Jesse! As for the bread bowl, it wasn't really pizza dough but A in 5 bread dough that I had in the frig and just flattened as one would for pizza :)


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