The Traditional Tuscan Ribollita

The Traditional Tuscan Ribollita

Fresh vegetables are used a lot in Tuscan cooking, and these ingredients make up the famous ribollita, which literally translates as 're-boiled' in Italian. Let's see how to cook it...

Florence is home to some incredibly tasty dishes, including the delicious Florentine T-bone steak, and the surrounding areas are known for their incredible wine. However, fresh vegetables are also used a lot in Tuscan cooking, and these ingredients make up the famous ribollita, which literally translates as 're-boiled' in Italian. Whilst enjoying one of our walking tours of Florence, why not pop into a local restaurant and sample this healthy, hearty dish?

The Tuscan ribollita is a hearty vegetable soup, which is made to a traditional Tuscan recipe. Its main ingredients include beans, bread, cabbage and a selection of vegetables that are in season. Beans are a very common ingredient in Tuscan cooking (Tuscans are often nicknamed bean-eaters!) and the addition of bread creates a more filling meal. It's easy to make and is perfect for the cooler Autumn and Winter months.

The history of this Tuscan dish is an interesting one, as theories behind its origin are somewhat debated. The slightly more simple idea is that, back in the middle ages, peasant families used to add a selection of vegetables that they were able to get their hands on into a large pot. The vegetables were cooked until they formed a thick soup, and then often re-boiled the following day. However, it is more widely believed that servants, after witnessing their feudal nobles engage in lavish banquets, would pinch the meat-soaked breads that had been used as plates, and take them home with them. They would then be re-boiled (probably more than once), along with various other vegetables.

Making the ribollita is just as simple as its humble beginnings. The first thing you'll need is about half a loaf of bread. Even if it's a bit stale it'll do just fine. You'll also need beans, a head of cabbage or kale, tinned tomatoes, an onion and some herbs such as parsley or sage. Don't forget clove of garlic too. You can add any vegetables you like, but potatoes, carrots, celery and leeks are used frequently in this dish. Simmer the beans along with the garlic and herbs for about an hour or so, sauté the vegetables in a pan, and then add them all together, along with a little water and some seasoning. Add the bread last and then continue cooking for another 20 minutes. You can tuck in straight away, and make sure you later boil up the leftovers, to enjoy it in the traditional way!

Whatever type of Florence guided tour you're after, we have a wonderful selection of private tours in Florence for you. Explore the city's incredible history, culture and architecture... and get stuck in to some tasty Tuscan dishes too!