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Black Cabbage Soup



Ribollita is a classic Tuscan soup. The word means to reboil as in make this soup one day and reheat it the next. The key ingredients are fresh or dried cannellini beans and cavolo nero or black cabbage with sturdy dark green elongated leaves. Use kale in place of cavolo nero. This hearty soup is usually served over slices of thick toasted bread.

Begin the process by soaking the dried beans overnight. I like to add the salt and pepper after the soup is cooked. I also like to add Parmesan cheese rinds to the soup as it cooks, but this is optional.


1 cup dried white beans

2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon fresh chili pepper, diced

4 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1 pound kale, stemmed, washed and torn into pieces

6 plum tomatoes, diced

6 cups hot water

1/2 pound green beans cut into thirds

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon salt

Grinding black pepper

8 slices toasted bread


Put the beans in a bowl and cover them with 3 cups of cold water. Allow them to stand overnight. The following day drain the beans and transfer them to a 2-quart pot. Cover the beans with 6 cups of water and cook them for about 45 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans. Puree half of them and set all the beans aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the rosemary, onion, chili pepper, carrots, and celery. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the potatoes, zucchini, kale, and tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes. Stir in the whole beans.

Pour in the water and the pureed beans and stir all the ingredients well. Add the cheese rind if you have one. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover the pot, stir in the green beans and cook 5 more minutes.

Stir in the celery salt, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Toast the bread slices then place one in each of 8 soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the bread and serve. Pass additional olive oil to drizzle on top.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003.


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