The Tuscan Ribollita is a first course typical of the poor tradition of the region. It is in fact a soup of stale bread, seasoned and flavored with seasonal vegetables and legumes. According to the peasant tradition, it was prepared on Friday, in order to be served in the following days.
This is because by boiling it, it could better absorb the flavors of the other ingredients, thus becoming tasty and savory. There is no real recipe, because like every traditional dish, every family has its own version.
The base is the cooking of dried beans. It is usually used the variety of cannellini beans which are cooked separately from the rest of the ingredients in order to be united afterwards.
Tuscan Ribollita is a lean soup, often used by farmers to celebrate Friday, when meat could not be consumed. The first evidences date back to the sixteenth century with its presence in manuscripts and treaties of that time. In the course of history it became a soup of recovery, used to dispose of products which otherwise would have been thrown away.
If you like the Calabrese Cuisine, take a look also at Polpette di Melanzane recipe!
Soak the beans for 12 hours before boiling them in water and rosemary.
Keep the cooking water and blend half of the beans, adding it a little at a time.
Chop the onion and carrot and sauté in oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped potatoes and thyme.
Add the tomatoes, kale, chard and savoy cabbage cut into pieces.
Add the vegetable stock and boil for 2 hours.
Add the cream of beans and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
Add the whole beans and finish cooking for another 30 minutes.
Arrange the stale bread on the bottom of the plate and pour over the hot soup proceeding in layers.
Once the soup is cooked and ready, as the name implies, it can be reheated for the following days, the taste will become richer and tastier.