Ribollita – Tuscan Bean Soup with Cavalo Nero

I had Cavalo Nero (Tuscan Black Cabbage) in my veg box this week and remembered my recipe for this classic bean soup from Tuscany. Ribolitta means ‘reboiled’ as it is traditionally made, then reheated, and eaten the next day when the flavours have fully developed.

I made it the other night and had it for dinner. It was very tasty, but true to the full flavoured theory, when I had it for lunch the next day, it tasted marvellous.
It’s the sort of warming goodness that I need on damp, dark winter days…..
Try this U.K farm site, Discoverkale.co.uk, for good clear info on cavalo nero and other kale.

Ribollita – the recipe…..Serves 6 generously. ….

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 large onion
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
2 leeks
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
250 g dried cannellini beans, soaked for 8 hours or overnight, see little note below
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
250 g cavalo nero, or other dark cabbage like savoy, finely shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
A slice of firm white bread per person
finely grated parmesan or pecorino to serve
More extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Heat olive oil, then add the chopped onion, carrot and celery, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped leek, garlic, chilli, rosemary, thyme and bay, and cook again for another 5-10 minutes.


Stir in the beans and the tomatoes, pour over 2.5 litres water, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 1 ½-2 hours or until the beans are very tender.

Hook out about 6 scoops of the soup with a slotted spoon into a bowl and mash well with a potato masher, then return to the pan with the cavalo nero, and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, allow to cool, then put in fridge and leave overnight.


The next day, slowly reheat the soup and check seasoning. Rub the bread, with the remaining clove garlic and toast it. Lay a slice of the toasted bread in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the soup on top…drizzle with more olive oil and serve with grated Parmesan on the side.

Little note…..Cannellini beans are the bean of tradition in Ribollita, but I had haricot in the cupboard, so in they went instead, and they were very fine indeed.

This entry was posted in December, February, Grains, Pasta & Pulses, January, Lunch, November, Soups, Supper, Vegetables, Vegetarian and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ribollita – Tuscan Bean Soup with Cavalo Nero

  1. Pingback: Veg Box No.15 – Mid winter……Early January | HOT MEALS NOW

  2. I had forgotten this wonderful dish…thanks for reminding me with the fab picture. Today’s light dusting of snow is exactly the right time for this soup:)

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