Some of these ingredients are prized and expensive but several of the best known and tasties dishes are based on leftovers, memory of a time when Tuscan housewives couldn't afford to let anything go wasted.
Consider for example the ingenious use of stale bread:
Bruschetta, for example, is sliced stale bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic and doused with extravirgin olive oil. Crostini Neri, too, slices of toasted bread with chicken liver patè flavoured with capers. Panzanella, typical poor summer dish that combines stale bread soaked in water and crumbled with fresh red tomatoes, onions, cucumber and basil, dressed with extravifìrgin olive oil.
Maybe the most famous of all leftovers meal is Ribollita : a vegetable soup with delicious Tuscan black cabbage, carrots, beans, pieces of bread. It is a typical "poor " dish of peasant origin , whose name comes from the time when Tuscan women at the beginning of the week cooked a lot of vegetable soup reinforced with bread and then, the following days, it was "stewed " in the pan, from here it takes the name of reboiled (ribollita), because the real soup is heated and boiled twice, (otherwise it would be a trivial soup of bread and vegetables !).
Pappa al pomodoro is based on the same concept except that fresh tomatoes are used in place of the other vegetables.
Yummy, isnt't it?