Ribollita a/k/a memory of Florence in a bowl.

I have an obsession with Florence. A serious one. Now that the weather is starting to get cooler I couldn’t wait to make this thick, delicious, healthy soup. It reminds me of the last time I visited Florence which was in February of this year. The winter is a great time to go, by the way, as it’s absolutely empty! Anyway this was the 2nd time that I dined at Antico Fattore (the first time was in Sept. 2010). They serve this soup there and I can’t get enough of it. This recipe is pretty close to what I get there but, as always, there’s something missing. Perhaps the ambiance of Florence. Perhaps a secret ingredient that the restaurant throws in. Who knows. But having a bowl of this brings me right back to the inside of a small and cozy restaurant on a small street on a cold night in the most enchanting city on earth. Enjoy!!


Notes: if you’re using dried beans you’ll need to give yourself 3 days to make this. If you’re using canned, 2 days.


  • 1/2 cup (4fl oz/125ml) extra virgin olive oil plus more for seasoning
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 zucchini (courgettes) coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (6oz/185g) canned plum (Roma) tomatoes (I used San Marzano) chopped
  • 1 bunch cavolo nero (tuscan cabbage) or kale, tough center stalks removed and cut into thick strips
  • 1/2 head savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups (21oz/655g) cooked cannellini beans (if using dried soaked overnight or canned rinsed)
  • Leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 day old coarse country bread, preferrably unsalted, toasted


  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Add the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and zucchini and saute until the vegetables are softened-about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and 4 cups (32 fl oz/1 l) water then add cavolo nero (or kale), savoy cabbage and spinach. Raise the heat to high, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and let cook until the greens are tender-about 45 minutes.
  2. Stir in the beans and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes longer. Add the thyme leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The following day, preheat the oven to 350f. Line a 2qt (2l) baking dish with the toasted bread and ladle the soup over the top. Bake, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon so that the bread slices break apart and blend with the soup, 20-25 minutes. Continue baking without stirring until a lightly browned crust forms on the top of the soup-about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Serve at the table directly from the dish. Season generously with olive oil and pepper.

Makes 6-8 servings. Serve with a nice Chianti!!

I bought this gorgeous loaf of the house bread from my local Fairway and it was perfect for this!

From Williams-Sonoma Florence


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