Friday, November 30, 2007

Ribollita - the ultimate winter soup


A specialty of Tuscany, this hearty bean and vegetable soup is served all over Florence in the winter. To call it a soup though is actually a bit of a misnomer. While it starts out as a soup, it gets thickened with bread before serving and by the time it's brought to the table it's actually more like a stew. A delicious, stick to your ribs, warm you right up from the inside stew.
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I gorged myself on sampled ribollita in many different restaurants during our recent trip to Florence (and in fact ran out to buy a Tuscan cookbook to be sure I could recreate my new favorite winter food once I returned home). Out of all the ones I tasted the hands-down winner had to be the one served at Trattoria Mario. That particular one is so well known that it's recipe is posted on the website of an Italian cooking school. Their recipe is the one I used to make the dish you see above (with the substitution of swiss chard for the unavailable in Israel black cabbage).

I couldn't wait to try it out, and now that the weather is cooling off a bit and making it possible to think about soups again I did. I'm happy to say that it was every bit as good as the one I got in the restaurant, though I must admit that the atomosphere was somewhat lacking... I should have brought in a few strangers to share my table and added some house wine and a huge amount of noise to get the full effect.


Buon appetito!

10 comments:

Marie said...

That looks really good. I'm looking for good vegetarian dishes for when my parents come out, I will have to look into this one.

Jo said...

the soup looks amazing.

Janet said...

that looks delish! I'll try it this weekend, thanks!

Christine said...

Robin, this soup will be perfect for a rainy day. It is are supposed to storm all weekend, and the rain just started pouring down.
~Christine
www.arewethereyetmom.com

Robin said...

It lasts forever too. A little goes a very long way, we've been eating it for days...

Marie, before your parents come out pick up a copy of the Moosewood Cookbook - it's the bible of fun, accessible vegetarian cooking. Some of it may be too crunchy for you, but it's got lots of soups, stews, pasta sauces, casseroles, you name it, and not a tofurkey in sight ;-). The only tofu in the book (and it's not much) isn't pretending to be anything other than what it is. I've used mine regularly for over 15 years and still find new things to try. Highly recommended if you're going to be cooking more vegetarian food.

Lea said...

This is perfect for a winter night! Thanks!

Eimi said...

That soup is definitely a meal! It looks yummy!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I saw a version of this on the Food Network and LOVE it. It is perfect for cold days.

mother in israel said...

a huge amount of noise to get the full effect
You could have brought some to my house. . .

RivkA with a capital A said...

Sounds yummy!!

Last year I started a new thing.

Once a week, I took out my crock pot in the morning and filled it with all sorts of beans/legumes & veges and let it cook all day.

By the evening, there would be wonderful smells and a warm hot dinner with no preparation necessary.

(btw -- love your blog header -- my kitchen NEVER looks that neat!!!)