Preparation info

  • Makes


    Servings Crostini
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

This baked bread and vegetable soup is the ultimate comfort food. Ribollita, which means reboiled, was devised by Tuscan cooks as a way to serve minestrone soup left from the previous day. The soup is layered with peasant bread and baked—it can also be simmered—until hot and bubbly. This recipe is our lower-fat adaptation of Tuscan Ribollita. The recipe may look long and involved, but it can be prepared in advance and in stages.


  • 6 slices (¼ inch thick) day-old white or whole wheat Italian bread


    1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning once, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Set crostini aside.
    3. Combine the onion, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the water in a large Dutch oven or other large stovetop-to-oven pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the oil is hot, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in the carrot and celery. Crush the garlic through a press and stir into the onion mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Add the zucchini, red pepper, and rosemary and cook over medium heat, stirring, just until the zucchini is crisptender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    5. Fill a large saucepan three quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste. Stir in the escarole and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, cool slightly, and squeeze out excess moisture.
    6. Combine the escarole, cannellini beans, tomatoes, remaining olive oil, a pinch of salt, and grinding of black pepper in a large bowl. Stir to blend.
    7. Heat the oven to 400°F.
    8. Using a spatula, spread the onion mixture evenly in the Dutch oven. Top with the bean and escarole mixture and spread in an even layer. Arrange the crostini on top. Add the juice from the tomatoes and just enough of the broth to come almost to the top of the vegetables. Press down on the crostini so that the underside is slightly moistened. Sprinkle with the cheese.
    9. Bake, uncovered, until surface is golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Spoon into shallow soup bowls, dividing the crostini, vegetables, and juices evenly. You can add additional broth, if desired, but soup is supposed to be very thick. Drizzle each serving with olive oil, if desired.