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Zuppa di Fagioli e la Ribollita

Updated: Jan 16

Tuscans insist that when the first frosts arrive, cavolo nero (black cabbage a.k.a. lacinato kale) is tastiest. That’s the time to cook up a big batch of zuppa di fagioli, the scrumptious unpretentious peasant soup, loaded with greens, beans, and founded on crusty artisanal bread. This is classic Tuscan home cooking at its best -- delicious, nourishing, economical, and practical.

Traditionally, any leftovers had a second life as ribollita (recooked), remoistened, then reheated in the oven and topped with crispy roasted onions. No wonder Tuscan zuppe are so beloved.

Zuppa Prep Time 30 minutes + up to 1 hour if using dried beans Cook time about 1 hour Serves 4-6

Ribollita Prep time 5 minutes Bake time 45 minutes Serves 4-6

Zuppa di Fagioli

1 pound dry cannellini beans or tarbais beans, soaked overnight, or boiled for 3 minutes and steeped for 1 hour

8 cups water

Handful of fresh sage leaves

3 cloves garlic

OR 3 ½ cans canned cannellini, rinsed and drained

2 red onions, cut in a medium dice

2 carrots, cut in a medium dice

2 stalks celery, cut in a medium dice

Fistful of Italian parsley, roughly chopped

1/3 cup tomato paste, dissolved in hot bean broth

1 cup no-sodium vegetable broth or bean cooking water