Ribollita, often considered a Tuscan peasant dish, has been given new life. Families all over the world are discovering the joys of this healthy and hearty soup.
There are hundreds – if not thousands – of variations of ribolitta and I have been experimenting for years with this classic Tuscan soup.
Literally translated, ribollita means “twice boiled” in Italian. The original version is traditionally made with reheated minestrone. Now, most people make their own version based on vegetables in season and their own particular vegetable favorites.
I have chosen to add Italian sausage to mine, even though most traditional ribollita recipes are made entirely from seasonal vegetables. The recipe below is now my husband’s personal favorite and is made from a composite of four different versions.
Ribollita with Italian Sausage
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage Optional
- 1 cup white wine
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided, plus extra to serve
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 5 ounces rustic bread such as ciabatta, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups)
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets chopped
- 1 bunch red Swiss chard stems removed and sliced ¼ inch thick, leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and reserved separately (or Tuscan kale)
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 15½-ounce can of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese shaved
- In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the paprika, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the bread and toss to coat. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium, then add the bread and cook, stirring, until crisp and brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Using your hands, mix sausage and wine in a medium bowl until combined.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high cook the sausage stirring occasionally until firm. Add the onion and chard stems (or kale). Cook, stirring until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the carrots, celery, anchovies, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook till tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Add the chard leaves, tomatoes, beans and broth and cook, stirring, until beginning to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium. cover and cook until the chard leaves are tender.
- Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the croutons.
- Just before serving add vinegar and half of the croutons. Served topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
For some other great recipes, sample some of our other favorites: