When it comes to Italian food, people usually think of pasta and pizza. Italy is also rich in numerous sweet treats that vary from one region to another. What many of you may not know, Italians love to include soup in their meals. Delicious soup is often served as primo piatto, which is the dish between a starter and main.
Italians are not shy when it comes to adding vegetables into their dishes. Depending on the different regional traditions and cuisines, Italian soups feature vegetables, occasionally matched by cereals or bread, or even meat, cheese, or fish. Italians tend to use seasonal food, so fish soups, like the brodetto from Marche and Abruzzo, are popular on the coast in the summer. Some regions of Italy, including Veneto, prefer soup over pasta. The list of Italian soups is pretty long, and it includes soups with names like Buridda, Ginestrata, Maccu, Minestrone, Ribollita, Stracciatella. Basically, every region has its favorite soup. Take a look at our three favorite picks.
1. Minestra Maritata (Meat and Vegetables, Campania)
Beginning with the name, this soup literally translates to the married soup. It is cooked mostly during winter, and its name suggests that the marriage between meat and vegetables, results in a delicious dish. Its essential ingredients include savoy cabbage, borage, young wild endive, chicory, and torzelle (a sort of local kale). These wild herbs and winter greens are boiled and then merged with beef, chicken and/or pork into a broth. Different local variants use the rind, fat sausages or ribs when it comes to the meat for this soup. Once they’re cooked, small pieces of mixed meat are added to the soup and quickly cooked to blend the flavors. The Minestra Maritata is usually served with grated mature cheese or with a pizza ionna, which is a local sort of pizza or a flatbread made of cornmeal and water.
2. Zuppa di Verze e Patate (Cabbage and Potatoes, Veneto)
Another popular winter soup is Zuppa di verze e patate. It features savoy cabbage (or a similar white cabbage), which is very used in Italy thanks to its nutritional value. Cabbage is sliced and boiled with onion, carrot, celery, and diced potatoes until everything is soft and almost creamy. The locals add some crumbled sauteed sausage or smoked bacon, which adds to the taste. If you are a vegan, or simply do not enjoy meat, this soup can be made without it.
3. Zuppa di Pesce (Italian Fish Soup)
Italian fish soup was once considered a Poor Man’s soup because the soup was made out of the leftover pieces of fish. It is usually made with approximately 6 or 7 different types of fish and seafood. You can use mussels, shrimp, haddock, clams, perch, squid, and others. Few cloves of garlic, fresh herbs, and some hot pepper flakes are also essential ingredients for this soup. The soup is usually served with a piece of grilled Italian bread placed at the bottom of a bowl and the soup poured on top.