Ribollita

Ribollita is a Tuscan bread soup, panade, porridge, or potage made with bread and vegetables, often from leftovers.

There are many variations but the main ingredients always include leftover bread, cannellini beanslacinato kalecabbage, and inexpensive vegetables such as carrotbeanschardcelerypotatoes, and onion. Its name means “reboiled”. It is often baked in a clay pot.

Like most Tuscan cuisine, the soup has peasant origins. It was originally made by reheating (or reboiling) the leftover minestrone or vegetable soup from the previous day with stale bread.

Why do people like Ribollita

This soup is very popular after the wine harvest is done and autumn is in full swing. Ribollita is made of bread, beans, and vegetables of course. Due to the fact that Tuscans do not have a rich culinary history in their pasta dishes, but they are known as “mangiafagioli” all over Italy. Mangiafagioli means “bean-eaters.” It is certain that Tuscans eat an abundance of beans and legumes of all kinds. 

The peasants who served the lords and ladies would take the leftover bread crusts and scrape the used plates clean of their flavorful juices after a meal. It was made with the reheated leftover minestrone or vegetable soup. The peasants would soak cannellini beans in water and let them sit by the fire with water, rosemary, garlic and olive oil, cooking very slowly overnight.

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Ingredients that go into Ribollita

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale
  • 1 small wedge of Parmesan with rind
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ½ loaf crusty country bread (about 10 oz.)
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Kosher salt
  • 1 14-oz. can cannellini beans
  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

How to cook Ribollita

Step 1 : Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. Time to prep your veg! You are going to make a mirepoix, which is just a fancy French word for the combo of chopped onions, carrots, and celery that form the flavor base for a lot of European dishes. First, cut 1 large onion in half through root. Peel and discard skins. Finely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.

Step 2 : Wash, peel, and trim 3 medium carrots. Cut in half (or in quarters lengthwise if they’re large), then cut crosswise into ½” pieces. (You can also just chop the carrots down into coins if you don’t mind larger pieces of veg in your soup.) Add to bowl with onion.

Step 3 : Chop 2 celery stalks crosswise into ½” pieces. Add to bowl with the rest of the mirepoix.

Step 4 : Smash and peel 8 garlic cloves with the back of your knife. If any of them are left more or less intact after that initial smashing, give them another good wack with the back of your knife so they really open up and start to break apart. Add to bowl, also.

Step 5 : Strip stems from 2 bunches Tuscan kale and discard. Wash if they’re gritty or you really care about washing vegetables, then tear leaves into 2″ pieces; set aside.

Step 6 : Cut rind off of 1 small Parmesan wedge; set aside.

Step 7 : Place 28 oz. canned tomatoes and their juices in a strainer set inside a medium bowl. (You need that bowl to collect the juice, which you’re going to use later—don’t throw it out!) Squeeze tomatoes and crush them with your hands while leaving them submerged in their liquid so they don’t squirt.

Step 8 : Tear ½ loaf crusty country bread into 1½” pieces.

Step 9 : Heat ⅓ cup extra-virgin oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium. Add bowl of mirepoix 2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 8–10 minutes.

Step 10 : Lift strainer full of tomatoes and give it a few shakes to remove any liquid. Add tomatoes (but not juices!) and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the rawness is cooked off, about 10 minutes. Giving those tomato solids a chance to caramelize before adding the liquid back in helps to add a lot of flavor to the stew. (Remember: Reserve the juices, you’re going to use them!)

Step 11 : While tomatoes are cooking, drain and rinse 14 oz. canned cannellini beans in the strainer you just used, then add to pot along with Parmesan rind,tomato juices,¾ tsp. red pepper flakes, and4 cups water. Bring to a simmer.

Step 12 : Add kale in two additions, stirring often and allowing to wilt in between.

Step 13 : Add about one-third of torn bread (no need to measure, just eyeball it) and cook, stirring occasionally, until coated and warmed through, about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Step 14 : Remove from heat. Place remaining torn bread chunks on top of stew. Drizzle generously with olive oil.

Step 15 : Transfer pot to oven and bake stew until thick, bubbling, and bread is golden brown on top, 10–15 minutes.

Step 16 : Ladle stew into bowls, drizzle each generously with olive oil, and grate lots of Parmesan over.

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What can Ribollita be served together with

Ribollita can last for days. The flavor becomes richer as the bread soaks in the savory softened vegetables. Serve with slices of chewy Tuscan bread or sourdough, perfect for dunking in the soup! For added flavor, top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese.

Other popular Italian food

Besides Ribollita, there are other Italian food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:

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