Ribollita is a classic Tuscan soup traditionally made with leftover minestrone thickened with chunks of stale bread. This version is something quite different, and it’s based entirely on the one they serve at Ristorante Da Delfina, a wonderful ristorante in a tiny village nestled in the hills just outside Florence.
The first time I ate it, I didn’t know what to expect, and since I am not a soup person, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they’d turned the soup into something wholly un-soup-like that I could eat with a knife and fork. The way we make it, after cooking off the liquid, we thicken the soup with bread, chill it, and then shape it into patties that are pan-fried in olive oil.
We serve it as an antipasto, but it could be a side dish or if served with a green salad, a light meal. I often recommend it to vegetarians, and to make it vegan, just omit the Parmigiano rind. One of our inveterate recipe testers, Tracey Harada, tested this recipe about eight times to get the flavors perfect. Cavolo nero, a variety of kale, is one of the defining ingredients of any ribollita.
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