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Minestra Maritata

This soup might come as a surprise to Americans used to thinking of Italian wedding soup as a broth garnished with tiny little meatballs served at a wedding reception. This soup gets its name from an Italian expression used to describe two things that go well together. They say that they are maritati (married). The combination of greens and meat in a clear broth certainly does work well and deserves to be called maritata, even if it isn’t served as part of a wedding celebration.
Minestra Maritata

Ingredients

Makes 6 Servings

  • 1/2 small head Savoy cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 head Bibb lettuce
  • 1/4 lb chicory
  • 2 oz pancetta
  • 2 oz prosciutto skin
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and left whole
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 lb pork ribs
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 qt water
  • 5 oz fresh Italian sausage, cooked, casings removed, and sliced
  • 2 oz caciocavallo cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp chopped fresh hot pepper, or as needed
  • 12 slices of bread, toasted or grilled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Clean and wash the cabbage, broccoli rabe, lettuce, and chicory. Cut the greens in big pieces and mix them together; set aside.
  2. Cut the pancetta into small pieces and place in a stock pot with the prosciutto skin, whole onion, whole garlic, pork ribs, herbs, and about 2 quarts of cold water with a little salt. Bring to a simmer over low heat, and let cook for about 1½ to 2 hours, depending on the ribs. Remove the ribs, pick off the meat, and cut it in coarse pieces.
  3. Strain the broth, add back the cooked meat and the sausage, and bring the soup back to a simmer over low heat. Add the greens and cook for 8 to 10 minutes; the greens should still be hard. Add the caciocavallo and the hot pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove and discard whatever is left of the prosciutto skin, and serve each bowl with the toasted or grilled bread and topped with a drizzle of a good extra-virgin olive oil.

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