The recipe for the traditional Veneto peasant soup is really delicious and combines pasta, cabbage and potatoes. Especially today, when the desire for the “flavors of the past” grows. And there are many flavors here.
But Why the name peasant soup? AND because it is traditional from Veneto And not from Piedmont or Abruzzo, where similar soups are also cooked?
After all, soups defined as “peasant style” are found in all regions, without exception. Just put together a handful of pasta with various vegetables and broth and you will have a peasant soup.
I our case the definition is simply taken from old Venetian recipe books., who thus defined the dish. But it had a precise local meaning. Which we will try to explain briefly.
The point is that a recipe is traditional to this or that region based on its history, not the place where it is cooked. You can find soups similar to this one. Today in all regions. We ourselves have published an almost identical recipe, calling it “interregional” (see here Pasta and Cabbage Soup with Potatoes and Tomato). but it was there tomato (as well as different aromas), which unequivocally dates its origin between the 19th and 20th centuries. when the tomato began to spread significantly.
The peasant soup that we propose is almost a century old. As evidenced by the fact that there is no tomato, not even a little or concentrated.
In fact, it is very likely that Cabbage and potatoes were first found in Italy precisely in the northeast. from the country. In fact, here, in the second half of the 18th century, the first experimental potato crops began. Also thanks to the Friulian (but Venetian) Antonio Zanon, who in 1767 published a treatise About the cultivation and use of potatoes.. And you can bet that any peasant woman who found herself eating potatoes and cabbage at the same time would sooner or later make herself a potato and cabbage soup. Also because the farmers’ daily diet then consisted mainly of soups and stews.
That is why this recipe is considered typical of Veneto.. Where the written recipe books of the time defined her as “peasant” for the simple fact of being there. potatoes. A food that really began to spread in Italy only in the second half of the 19th century. And that for decades the nobles and rich have viewed it with distrust, considering it, in effect, a thing for peasants.
There is no indication in the recipe that it is delicious…sorry: very simple! Only one consideration about the amount of broth. One liter for four servings of pasta and potato soup may not seem like much. And indeed it is if you want a brothy soup: in this case prepare 1.5 liters of broth and then adjust the cooking time. However, keep in mind that Venetian soups are traditionally very dense, similar, so to speak, to risotto all’onda. Pellegrino Artusi was not completely wrong when he ironically stated that “the populations of Veneto do not know, one could say, any other soup than rice.”
If you want to enhance its already rich flavor, then replace the parmesan with an alpine cheese. ideal the montasio grated, which is the traditional cheese once used by farmers in the Veneto valleys.
DOSE FOR 4 PEOPLE
- 180 g of pasta of your choice (the ones in the photo are egg malted)
- 100 g medium fat raw ham
- 200 g peeled cabbage
- 200 g peeled potatoes
- 1 liter of meat broth
- 1 onion
- 60 g grated Grana Padano
- dry white wine
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the cabbage leaves, remove the toughest part of the stems and cut them into fairly thin strips. // Wash the potatoes and peel them, then cut them into small cubes. // Keep the broth warm, almost boiling. If you don’t have meat, add 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in a liter of hot water. In our opinion, the ready-made broth is now even better than the bouillon cubes… which has little meat, but the taste is good.
- Finely chop the onion and brown it in a pan with 3 tablespoons of oil. Let it simmer, covered, for 3-4 minutes. Then add the chopped ham and let it fry for another 3-4 minutes. Finally, sprinkle with ½ glass of white wine and let it evaporate, stirring for a few minutes over a slightly higher (moderate) heat.
- Add the cabbage along with a tablespoon of chopped parsley and a couple of sprigs of marjoram. Pour in half a ladle of boiling broth, cover the saucepan and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Pour the potatoes into the saucepan, pour in all the remaining broth, bring to the boil and continue cooking, keeping in mind that the potatoes (cut into cubes) should cook for 14-16 minutes after they have returned to the boil. Then pour in the pasta, calculating the cooking times based on those of the potatoes. If, for example, the pasta requires 10 minutes of cooking, pour it in when the potatoes have been boiling for 5 minutes. If you think it is necessary to lengthen the soup a little, add a little boiling water. At the end, however, test the pasta for doneness and season with salt.
- Once the heat is off, season with a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Add the parmesan, mix and serve hot your peasant pasta, cabbage and potato soup.