La Ribollita

Tuscan Bean and Cabbage Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

An absolutely classic Tuscan recipe, la ribollita is typical of the big, wholesome soups of this region. When in season, cavolo nero, the narrow-leafed black cabbage of Tuscany, is used for this dish, but in fact any kind of cabbage will work just as well. At the table, offer around olive oil so that people can drizzle it over their individual portions, as they wish - this is known as blessing your soup in Tuscany. You can also offer freshly grated Parmesan or aged pecorino cheese.


  • 3carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded
  • 2-3 handfuls of any other leaf vegetables of your choice, such as spinach or chard, washed and dried, then shredded coarsely
  • 4 Italian pork or wild boar sausages
  • about 1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups cold water
  • 250 g/9 ozstale country-style white or brown bread: the staler the better
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 150 g/5 oz/1 cup cooked cannellini beans, drained
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan or aged pecorino cheese, to serve (optional)


  1. Put all the vegetables and the sausages into a large pan and cover with the cold water. Season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if required.

  3. Slice the stale bread and season it with salt and pepper. Brush it thoroughly on either side with the olive oil. If you wish, you can toast it at this stage to make it crisper.

  4. Use the bread to line a soup tureen or large bowl. You can either place the bread on the bottom of the bowl, so it soaks up the liquid in the soup, or you can tuck the slice of bread into the side of the bowl and dip it in as you eat the soup.
  5. Remove the sausages from the pan and keep warm. Stir the beans into the soup and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then pour the soup over the prepared bread in the tureen or bowl. Arrange the sausages on top, then cover and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

  7. Arrange the sausages on top, then cover and leave to rest for about 10 minutes before serving with a jug or pitcher of olive oil to drizzle over the soup, and freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, if you like.