Classic Ribollita


Prep time: 
10 minutes
Cooking time: 
70 minutes


A big fat soup that's the very essence of kitchen economy


  • 2 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 250g cooked canellini beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 slices of thick bread
  • 2 cup cavolo nero, chopped
  • salt and pepper


  • Cook the onions, carrots, garlic and celery in a deep pan with olive oil for 20 minutes, until soft.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and canellini beans, with 250ml of their cooking water and add bay leaves. Leave to simmer over a low to moderate heat for 30 minutes.
  • Tear up the bread and dunk into soup.
  • Stir in the kale and season to taste.
  • Simmer for another 15 to 20minutes, until you have a thickish soup, adding more bean water if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls with a trickle of olive oil.


Cavolo nero is pretty much a given if you are adding greens to your ribollita, but spring greens and Savoy cabbage also make fine alternatives to the finished soup. Some cooks add cubed potatoes, courgettes, diced prosciutto, leeks, thyme leaves, fennel seeds and crushed dried chillies. Nigel Slater likes to pour in a spoon of lemon oil too at the last minute to brighten up the flavours

A night in the fridge will encourage the flavours to marry. Keep the pieces of vegetable quite small – the soup should be thick, but not a chunky stew. Use a firm white loaf, torn into rough chunks.

Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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