The Chef Upstairs


Ribolitta - Tuscan White Bean Soup

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Serves 6 - 8


  • ⅛ cup good olive oil
  • ¼ pound large diced pancetta or bacon (optional - sub Parmesan rind in the broth)
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced fennel bulb (or sub celery)
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic- rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes - diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 6 cups chopped lacinato kale
  • Splash white wine
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (or use veggie stock)
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans - or use 2 cans cannellini beans (drained, minced), or great northern white beans
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Grated pecorino or Parmesan - optional


1. In a large, heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.

2. Add onions and pancetta and sauté 6-8 minutes.

3. Lower heat to med-low and add the carrots, fennel (or celery) and garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes, and cook another 7- 9 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

4. Add the tomatoes and lacinato kale, and a splash of white wine, and continue sautéing and stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes.

5. Add the stock and beans.

6. NOTE: for a thicker soup, blend or puree 1 cup of the beans with a little of the stock

7. Bring the soup to boil, turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.

8. You could add a Parmesan rind to the simmering soup for extra depth of flavor.

9. Stir in fresh Italian Parsley. Adjust salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with thick crusty bread.