Zuppa di cardi (Cardoon Soup)

Frankprimi piatti, Soups22 Comments

Zuppa di cardi (Cardoon Soup)

Cardoons are one of my favorite vegetables, but they’re frustratingly hard to find here in the US. So whenever I spy a bunch in the market, I grab them, no questions asked. I find their subtle flavor, reminiscent of artichokes, delightful. If you’ve never tasted a cardoon, you’ve been missing … Read More

Zuppa di cicerchie (Grass Pea Soup)

FrankLazio, Marche, primi piatti, Puglia, Soups, Toscana, Umbria38 Comments

Zuppa di cicerchie (Grass Pea Soup)

Yes, autumn is well and truly here. There’s a definitely chill in the air, the leaves are turning color, pumpkins have been placed on doorsteps, and logs are piled high on back porches, ready for the fire. I don’t know about you, but when the temperatures drop, I start to … Read More

Zuppa di orzo (Italian Barley Soup)

FrankFall, primi piatti, Soups, Winter47 Comments

Zuppa di orzo (Italian Barley Soup)

Italian cuisine is known for pasta, gnocchi, risotto and polenta. More recently many people have come to know farro. But did you know that Italians also enjoy barley? Here is a simple, basic Italian Barley Soup—zuppa di orzo— that is both healthy, appetizing and, if made in a pressure cooker, quickly … Read More

Minestra di broccoli e arzilla (Skate and Romanesco Broccoli Soup)

FrankLazio, primi piatti, Soups44 Comments

Minestra di broccoli e arzilla

I lived in Rome for over ten years, but in all that time, minestra di broccoli e arzilla, or Skate and Romanesco Broccoli Soup, somehow passed me by. I belatedly discovered this homey soup only recently, while perusing some old cookery books I picked up there years ago. Better late than never… … Read More

Minestra dei morti (Soup of the Dead)

FrankLombardia, piatti unici, primi piatti, secondi piatti, Soups35 Comments

Minestra dei morti (Soup of the Dead)

Modern Milan, political capital of Lombardy and financial capital of Italy, conjures up images of sharply dressed business people, trendy fashion shows and elegant shops. Lombardy is one of the riches areas of Italy and, indeed, the world. So it may come as a surprise that the region’s traditional cuisine is actually fairly rustic, with … Read More

Farinata di cavolo nero (Tuscan Kale and Polenta Soup)

Frankpolenta, primi piatti, Soups, Toscana57 Comments

Farinata di cavolo nero

When I think of Tuscan cuisine, first and foremost, even before the classic bistecca alla fiorentina as wonderful as that is, I think of its hearty vegetable soups. The best known of these soups is probably  the ribollita, of course. But the most memorable Tuscan soup I’ve ever had was in a small … Read More

Vellutata di cavolfiore (Cream of Cauliflower Soup)

Frankprimi piatti, Soups27 Comments

Vellutata di cavolfiore

Here’s a dish that’s perfect for a spur of the moment meal, but is so beautiful and refined it could also serve as the starter for an elegant dinner: Vellutata di cavolfiore, or Cream of Cauliflower Soup. A vellutata—like its twin the crema, see the Notes below—can be roughly translated in English as a “Cream … Read More

Cicoria e fagioli (Chicory and Beans)

FrankCampania, contorno, piatti unici, primi piatti, Soups44 Comments

Chicory and beans (Cicoria e fagioli)

Chicory and Beans is one of those lean dishes that Angelina practically lived on weekdays. Like many good southern Italians, she was what we might call today a ‘flexitarian‘—living mostly on vegetables, saving meat for Sundays and other special occasions. Her lunch would often consist of chicory or escarole or some other … Read More

Peas and Eggs (Piselli cacio e uova)

FrankCampania, contorno, Italian-American, piatti unici, primi piatti, secondi piatti, Soups27 Comments

Peas and Eggs

Columbus Day is right around the corner, and as regular readers know, that’s the occasion each year for us to feature a classic Italian-American dish. This year we’re sharing an old family recipe, one that I’m sure will be familiar to many readers “of a certain age”: Peas and Eggs. … Read More

Riso e lenticchie (Rice and Lentils)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Soups37 Comments

Rice and Lentils (Riso e lenticchie)

I love lentils. My favorite pasta when I was growing up was the pasta e lenticchie (Pasta and Lentils) Angelina made. Rice goes as well with lentils as pasta does, and it’s even easier to make. A one-pot dish that makes a perfect first course before a wintery stew or roast, Rice and … Read More

Zuppa pavese (Pavia Style Soup)

FrankLombardia, primi piatti, Soups29 Comments

Zuppa pavese

A humble soup in the cucina povera tradition, zuppa pavese from the Lombardy city of Pavia has a regal history behind it. Legend has it that French king Francis I, fleeing from defeat in a nearby battle, found himself in a peasant farmhouse where the lady of the house improvised a meal for her … Read More

Le virtù (Abruzzese “Seven Virtues” Minestrone)

FrankAbruzzo, piatti unici, Soups, Spring2 Comments

Abruzzese minestrone

Le virtù, literally meaning “the virtues”, is the signature Spring dish from the town of Teramo in the Abruzzo region of Italy. This version of minestrone takes it name from the  Seven Virtues of Catholic catechism. Custom has it that you need 7 different legumes and 7 different vegetables to make it, … Read More

Carabaccia (Tuscan Onion Soup)

Frankprimi piatti, Soups, Toscana, Winter31 Comments


Carabaccia is an ancient Tuscan onion soup, going back to the Renaissance. They say it was a favorite of Leonardo da Vinci—and that, as for so many other classic dishes,  the recipe was brought by Catarina de’  Medici to France, where it evolved into the soupe à l’oignon we all know and love today. You … Read More

Minestra di riso e cicoria (Chicory and Rice Soup)

Frankprimi piatti, Risotto and Other Rice Dishes, Soups12 Comments

Cicoria e riso (Chicory and Rice Soup)

Chicory (cicoria in Italian) is one of my very favorite greens. It brings back memories of Angelina for whom cicoria and escarole were almost daily staples. Maybe that’s why she lived well into her 90s… A great weeknight dinner option, the recipe for chicory and rice soup is very fast, … Read More

Pasta e fagioli: The Authentic Recipe

FrankCampania, pasta, primi piatti, Soups79 Comments

Pasta e fagioli

Pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans, which goes by the amusing nickname ‘pasta fazool‘ in Italian-American slang, is one of the most internationally famous dishes in the entire Italian repertoire.  It is a victim of its own success, however, too often made badly—very badly—which is why I would never … Read More

Tortellini fatti in casa (Homemade Tortellini)

FrankEmilia-Romagna, pasta, primi piatti, Soups24 Comments

Homemade Tortellini in brodo

Among the dizzying variety of stuffed pastas in the Italian repertoire, perhaps none—with the exception of ravioli—is more famous than tortellini. These ring-shaped bits of bliss are ambassadors of Italian cuisine abroad and these days they (or aberrant facsimiles) can be found on the shelves of almost any supermarket. Within … Read More

Cioppino, an Italian-American Classic

FrankItalian-American, Liguria, Soups24 Comments


As regular readers will know, this blog is focused on authentic Italian home cooking, the kind that you might eat in Italy itself. But it is also, in some sense, about the Italian diaspora, so it is only fitting that, from time to time—at least once a year—we feature an … Read More

Zuppa dei valdesi (Piedmontese Bread Soup)

FrankPiemonte, primi piatti, Soups20 Comments

Piedmontese Bread Soup

A reader who I’ll call “Nancy T.” wrote me recently to tell me about a bread soup dish called zuppa that her Piedmontese grandmother used to make. The word is one of several in Italian that mean ‘soup’ (see our Glossary for details). A zuppa is rustic soup, typically the kind that … Read More

Mushroom Barley Soup

FrankNon-Italian, primi piatti, Soups18 Comments

What to do with a spare ham bone if, like me, you don’t care too much for split pea soup? Well, what about a mushroom barley soup? While barley soup is usually made with beef, it tastes just a delicious with pork and ham in particular. Ingredients For 4 servings … Read More

Zuppa di porri (Tuscan Leek Soup)

FrankFall, primi piatti, Soups, Toscana, Winter21 Comments

Tuscan Leek Soup

‘Tis the season for soups! When the temperatures dive, there is simply nothing that takes the chill off like soup. The wonderful thing about soups is their enormous variety: they can be thick and stick-to-the-ribs, whole meals in themselves, or they can be light, even austere, just enough to whet … Read More

La ribollita (Tuscan Minestrone)

Frankprimi piatti, Soups, Toscana13 Comments


We’ve already gone over the basic recipe for minestrone on this blog. Once you’ve mastered that, it is a lot of fun to explore the many varieties of minestrone from all over Lo Stivale (meaning ‘the boot’ one of the many nicknames Italians give to their country). Perhaps the most delicious … Read More

Crema di cannellini (Tuscan White Bean Soup)

FrankFall, primi piatti, Soups, Toscana, Winter20 Comments

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Here’s a quick and easy weeknight supper for you, Tuscan White Bean Soup: a purée of cannellini beans, seasoned with garlic and rosemary, and thinned out with water or broth to create a soup. Nothing could be simpler or more satisfying. And if you are using canned beans—which you can, why … Read More

Zuppa di pesce alla napoletana (Neapolitan Fish Stew)

FrankCampania, piatti unici, Soups27 Comments

Zuppa di pesce

Italy, being a rather slender peninsula, is a country where the sea is rarely too far away. And, of course, the products of the sea play a major role in its cuisine. And so it is not surprising that zuppa di pesce, or fish soup, is a dish that you … Read More

Crema di zucca (Winter Squash Soup)

FrankFall, primi piatti, Soups, Winter4 Comments

Crema di zucca (Winter Squash Soup)

Who doesn’t love winter squash soup? It is savory yet sweet, warming yet light. It makes a wonderful first course, to be followed by a roast, or a light supper after too many hearty holiday meals… My version of this soup is extremely easy: Ingredients Serves 4-6 1 kilo (2 … Read More

Stracciatella alla romana (Roman-Style “Egg Drop” Soup)

FrankLazio, primi piatti, Soups9 Comments

One usually associates Roman cooking with hearty and robustly flavored dishes and, by and large, the image holds true. But there are some exceptions like today’s offering: stracciatella, a light ‘egg drop soup’, perfect for a light first course or supper. It’s a great choice for those occasions when you … Read More