Sunday, May 19 2024

Minestra maritata (Wedding Soup) has ancient origins, traveling a journey that begins in the first century A.D. with Marcus Gavio Apicius, a famous Roman gastronome who in his De Re Coquinaria offers one of the earliest accounts of a soup that can be considered the ancestor of this dish.

This recipe, which was originally a way to make the best use of leftover meat and seasonal vegetables, has become a symbol of abundance and celebration, especially at Christmas.

With the arrival of the Aragonese in Naples in the 14th century, minestra maritata became what we know today, inspired by the Spanish Olla Podrida (a soup with multiple types of meat and spices).

The term maritata alludes to the happy combination of meat and vegetables.

Over time the recipe has been adapted in the various regions of Italy, taking local characteristics that reflect quite different.

In Campania, for example, minestra maritata is typically prepared with a selection of winter vegetables that give it an intense, bitterish flavor, while lesser cuts of meat are enhanced by slow cooking.




For the meatballs:
– 1.1 pounds (500g) ground meat (beef, pork, or mixed)
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
– 1/4 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or Pecorino)
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Cooking oil

For the soup:
– 4 cups (1 liter) beef or vegetable broth
– 7 ounces (200g) cabbage
– 7 ounces (200g) escarole
– 5.3 ounces (150g) Swiss chard
– 1 carrot
– 1 onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste




Preparing the meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, mix ground meat, egg, bread crumbs, grated cheese, and minced garlic.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  3. With damp hands, form into patties of desired size.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat some olive oil and fry the meatballs until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside.

Preparing the soup

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic and lightly brown them and the diced carrot and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables (savoy cabbage, escarole and chard) and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Finally pour in the meat stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Add the meatballs to the soup and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Serve the minestra maritata hot and accompanied with crusty bread.


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