My Inner Italian cook is liberated from geography. When it’s sweltering at my home in eastern Pennsylvania, I can toss pasta with juicy plum tomatoes, olive oil, and basil and call it supper. Just as they do in the sunny south.
When overnight temps dip into the teens, however, I can head north to the Alpine region of Trentino Alto-Adige for mealtime inspiration. The northernmost part of this semi-autonomous region is culturally more German than Italian, with ingredients such as sauerkraut and poppy seeds showing up in local dishes. It’s the South Tyrol, a triangular point of land jutting north from Milan and Venice. Bolzano, the capital of Alto-Adige is 400 miles from Rome but a mere 170 miles from Munich, Germany.
|Italian Savoy Cabbage and Rice Soup|| |
- 4 ounces cubed pancetta or slab bacon
- Olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and green part, sliced 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fruity white wine
- 1 head (1¼ pounds) Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 3 quarts (12 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup medium or long-grain white or brown rice
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Scatter the pancetta bacon or in a large pot set over medium heat. Glaze with olive oil. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until golden. Reduce the heat if the pancetta or bacon browns too fast.
- Add the leeks and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until golden.
- Add the wine. Increase the heat to high. Boil, scraping up any browned bits, for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the cabbage, broth, rice, thyme, bay leaves, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cover partially and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add the parsley and pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually add 2 cups of broth skimmed from the soup. Add the egg mixture to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until the soup thickens slightly.
- Garnish with Parmesan to taste.