Sienese ribollita

ribollita senese

The traditional peasant dish

Sienese ribollita originally began as a poor man’s dish.

A bread-based stew packed with ingredients and vegetables typical of the winter season.

It can be enjoyed at room temperature even in summer, but it’s ideal for colder months as it releases its full flavour when warm. Ribollita is found everywhere in Tuscany but has its roots in Siena. Right here in the city of the Palio, it was created by cooks as a way of not wasting bread and vegetables left over from preparing other dishes. The name comes from ‘ribollire’ which means to boil again, as it must be boiled twice to obtain the full flavour. It’s a time-consuming dish, but rest assured it will be worth it!

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions
  • 300 g of black cabbage
  • 100 g of Savoy cabbage
  • 150 g of carrots
  • 250 g celery
  • 100 g of chard
  • 500 g white cannellini beans
  • 500 g of tomato puree
  • 200 g of bread
  • 50 g of extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Soak the beans for at least 8 hours and then pour them into a pot with plenty of cold water, bring to a boil over low heat and let them cook for at least an hour.
2. Get a fairly large pot and sauté the onion in oil and a drop of water. Meanwhile, break up all the vegetables.
3. As soon as the onion is slightly soft, add the previously chopped carrots, cabbage, celery and kale. Stir with a wooden spoon.
4. Drain the boiled beans and do not forget to put the cooking water aside, which will come in handy both for blending some of the beans and for adding to the soup at a later stage.
5. Blend half the drained beans adding some of the cooking water, and add them to the pot with the vegetables along with the remaining beans left whole. Add the tomato puree and the remaining bean cooking water until the vegetables are covered. Let cook with a lid on for at least 2 hours on low heat.
6. When the soup is ready, slice the bread (traditionally it should be stale) and toast it in the oven. Once ready put it in a soup tureen alternating layers of bread with layers of soup.
7. Adjust salt, pepper and chilli (according to taste) and let cool in the fridge. Once cooled pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Serve with a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil.

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