Ribollita: Tuscan Bread Soup

I went boot shopping after work today.  An amusement park for women.  The shopping, I mean, not work.  It's a woman's Disneyworld.  Unless that woman is me.  I don't enjoy shoe shopping.  I wear a size 9.5 so nothing is flattering on my flippers.  Even flippers don't look nice on me.  The worst part is that I have super long limbs so you'd think I would be a good swimmer, but rather, I resemble an octopus when immersed in a body of water.  I'm just a waste of long limbs.  I don't wear heels either because they don't do much for me...they just convert me from a giant to a giantess.  Moreover, when I walk next to my husband in heels it looks like I own him, like a praying mantis.  If you recall my Green Beans post, you might remember the image of my legs.  Hangman has thicker legs than me.  (Which, by the way, i find that game very innappropiate and violent.  What if every contestant of Wheel of Fortune had to wear a noose around their neck?) 

Boot shopping.  If you saw me across the room trying on boots, you would see brown chopsticks floating in synthetic leather moats. 

But I buy them anyway.  Boots with heels. 

Wearing these, with manufactured confidence, I will end you.

On the topic of boot, I'm sharing my most favorite dish from Tuscany, Florence, Italy. 

This is the Pope of 'comfort food' dishes of Florence that I first tasted in 2000.  I have been searching for over ten years for the right recipe, and nothing has measured up.  Even when I requested the recipe in Italy, I got weird looks because it's like asking for the recipe for a Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich.  No luck.  I finally decided to write my own recipe.  After many attempts of trying and rewriting and perfecting, I am finally ready to share it. 

Ribollita, meaning "reboiled", is a make-use-of-yesterday's-food leftover dish.  It's a beautiful symphony of delicious vegetables and leftover bread. 

It must be said that this dish starts very beautiful and colorful and ends very monochromatic and looking quite unfortunate. Like reverse Benjamin Button. But don't miss out. 
Kind of pretty.  With some work, possibly pageant material.
Not pretty.  Irreversible damage.
Getting into the ugly zone.  Even camera flash is not helping.
Well-nested in the ugly zone.  Warrants a med-spa.
Plastic Surgery.
Michael Jackson.
Make it stop.

(serves 4)
Ribollita, meaning "reboiled", is a make-use-of-yesterday's-food leftover dish.  You should be able to stand a spoon in a pot of ribollita.  This is best on a Sunday night or a cold and rainy day.  You can and should use a crock pot to make this, if that option is available to you!  It is imperative that the bread is a day old, stale, or dried out.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, diced into 1/2" chunks
1 stalk celery, diced into 1/2" chunks
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 of a savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 zucchini, diced into 1/2" chunks
1/2 bunch kale, chopped (about 3 cups, packed)
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, one-fourth can reserved
1 pound, sliced, day old (stale) rustic italian bread, half pound reserved
1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmeggiano-reggiano
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
1.  You can use a food processor to chop/slice the vegetables.
2.  In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add Carrots, onions, celery, cabbage, and 2 bay leaves.  Allow vegetables to soften and then add garlic.  Cook for 2 more minutes.
3.  Add crushed tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.  Then lower heat, add zucchini, kale, and three-fourths can of beans.  Season with salt and generous ground black pepper.
4.  Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring often.  Taste again for salt before proceeding to the next step.
5.  There should still be liquid in the pot after cooking time.  Start layering bread on the surface.  Only use 6-8 slices (1/2 pound).  As the liquid soaks through the bread, use your ladle to "drown it" and mix well.  Liquid should be mostly absorbed.
6.  Using an immersion blender, while the soup is cooking, blend the soup a few times in short bursts.  You don't need a puree, but blend to at least a chunky consistency.  Add more bread, 2 slices at a time, if needed.  You shouldn't need more than 3/4 pound bread. Blend again in short bursts if needed.
7.  Make sure mixture is heated through.  Ladle into bowls.  Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil and parmeggiano reggiano cheese and then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with, well, more bread!
Instructions for Crockpot Ribollita:
*Crockpot tip:  Monitor your crockpot somewhat the first time you do this, to see if the heat time works for your appliance. 
Do step 1 and 2 the night before. 
Then the morning of, brush the inside of the crockpot with olive oil.
Add all ingredients except the reserved 1/4 can beans, sliced bread, parmeggiano-reggiano, and parsley. 
Cook for 6 hrs. 
Then continue working in the crockpot with steps 5 and 6.


  1. Hahaha! Rabbit, you rock! Brilliant tie-in of the boot! Glad you finally solved that 10-year itch.

  2. Mmmm. Stale bread and leftover mush. Sounds delicious. On the plus side, loved the post. Your new nickname shall be Octoamee.

  3. Amee, what a hilarious post! Btw, you have great legs! My legs are like inverted triangles.


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