Tis the season in Tuscany for kale, or black cabbage, which comes straight from the farm to the seasonal table as one of the main ingredients of the ubiquitous winter dish known as la ribollita.
Ribollita is actually the essence of a Tuscan winter, containing easily-found ingredients indigenous to the region: kale, white cannellini beans, carrots, potatoes, bread and extra virgin olive oil.
Ristorante Da Lino, located at via Sant’Elisabetta 9 near Florence’s Duomo, makes an exquisite ribollita (pictured), and were gracious enough share how their know-how.
According to chef Lino Amantini, Tuscan farmers would layer stale bread with cannellini soup beans to make minestra di pane (bread soup), and heating up the leftover soup the next day to present an even tastiest version, ribollita, literally “re-boiled.”
What makes Lino’s ribollita so special, first off, is the authentic Tuscan bread from a wood-buring oven (“it has the right consistency,” says the chef), market fresh vegetables: kale, potatoes and carrots, Tuscan dried cannellini beans that return to their original soft consistency when cooked. Like the original Tuscan farmer, Lino adds a swirl of cooked onion and olive oil on top as well as grinding of fresh, black pepper.
In keeping with tradition, ribollita is prepared the day before serving, and should be presented in a Tuscan terra-cotta bowl to retain the original stove-top warmth.