Ribollita and Sangiovese a never-ending story

Ribollita and Sangiovese a never-ending story

Ribollita is definitely the dish we all think of when we think of Tuscany and especially Chianti we undoubtedly think of ribollita.

The undisputed queen of the Tuscan table in winter, it is a delicious and simple poor man’s dish that will please anyone.

The origins and history of Tuscan ribollita

Ribollita is a typical dish of Tuscan culinary tradition; the recipe has its origins in the Middle Ages, a time when it was prepared and consumed by the poorest strata of the population.

Today Ribollita is one of the most famous recipes of traditional Tuscan cuisine. It is a typical Tuscan winter dish, a semi-solid soup prepared with black cabbage and beans.

As mentioned ribollita has poor, peasant origins, a typical winter dish particularly useful for warming up on cold winter days; it is the direct descendant of bread and vegetable soup, and was particularly popular in the Pisa plain and in the territories of Arezzo and Florence.

There is no real traditional recipe, as it is an ancient and poor dish; however, the basic elements for ribollita can be considered the Tuscan kale, which must, as per tradition, have “taken the ice,” that is, having frozen during the winter, cannellini beans and the typical unsalted bread.

True ribollita, the kind that respects Tuscan tradition, does not have to be cooked only once but, as the name of the recipe suggests, must be reheated at least twice and, the more it is recooked, the better and tastier it becomes. Ribollita was also addressed by the famous Artusi, whom we discussed in this article

Ribollita is probably the main dish of Tuscan poor cuisine. Its roots are definitely ancient so much so that already in the Middle Ages a kind of soup was widespread that can be considered the direct ancestor of the ribollita we know today.

In the Middle Ages the rich lords would have their meat served resting on flatbreads made of unleavened bread, which were then given to the servants who would boil them, accompanying them with whatever ingredients they could find: herbs and vegetables from the countryside such as celery, carrots, and cabbage. This soup was then reheated and eaten for several days. The recipe that has persisted over the centuries, refining, and adjusting in flavors has led to the current Ribollita dish.

Ribollita was usually prepared by peasants on Fridays, when religion and poverty dictated eating “di magro” and what was left was bread, vegetables and legumes.

In the following days, as in the Middle Ages, the soup was reheated several times and eaten again: with a few simple ingredients a poor family was thus able to feed itself for a long time. As happens to many of these “popular” recipes, now ribollita too has left the peasant kitchens and has spread as a true symbol of Tuscan cuisine.

Tuscan Ribollita Recipe

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours
Food availability: Easy
Servings size: 4 people
Difficulty: Easy

250 gr. Tuscan bread (unsalted)
800 gr. fresh cannellini beans
1 chard
1 black cabbage
1/2 Savoy cabbage
5 carrots
4 potatoes
3 stalks of white celery
2 tomatoes + 1 tablespoon of concentrate
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Thyme, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
ribollita ingredients


The first thing to do to prepare ribollita is to cut the vegetables into medium-sized pieces, then boil the cannellini beans and afterwards strain them through a sieve with their cooking water. Leave some green beans whole, at which point sauté the onion with oil in a pot.

Sauté the vegetables
Sauté the vegetables
Once the onion is golden brown add the red tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste; after about 10 minutes that everything is cooking on medium heat, add the green bean puree and whole green beans,stir and add the other chopped vegetables. Add salt and pepper and your liking and to finish, add the thyme.

Add the tomato and the other vegetables
Add the tomato and the other vegetables
Add 6 ladles of water and let everything cook for about 2 hours. The ribollita should be served on a base of at least 2 slices of bread toasted previously and rubbed with garlic. Once the ribollita is ready, with the bread slices as explained above, to make sure the dish respects Tuscan tradition, heat the ribollita in the oven, covered with a surface layer of thin slices of onion.

Let it cook and add the bread
Let it cook and add the bread
As soon as the onion is browned sprinkle it over the surface of the ribollita and serve hot with raw oil. Of course, the traditional crock pot should be used.

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