Make Ahead

zuppa di cardone e polpettini di vitello

February 11, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This zuppa is a regional favorite from Abruzzo, Italy. The dish uses cardoons which are somewhat of an unsung hero in the vegetable famiglia. I love their artichoke-like flavor and this zuppa is a great way to add them to your food file. —cucina di mammina

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground veal (if you do not eat veal; feel free to use ground chicken or turkey)
  • grated parmigiano cheese
  • 2 small garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (trimmed & dried)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups low sodium lightly seasoned bread crumbs (homemade or store brand
  • whole milk
  • 2 large cardoons (trimmed of outer ribs, thorns and ends)
  • 1 large clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • large pot of homemade chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Optional: 2 to 3 whole eggs, grated Parmigiano cheese, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Beat these ingredients together and set aside to add right before serving.
  2. Clean and prep the cardoon stalks carefully (wear gloves) by removing the tough outer ribs and trimming the sides which will remove the thorns. Cut into bite size segments about the size of your thumb or so and place in acidulated water (ice cold water with cut lemons) and set aside for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to boil. Drain the cardoon pieces well and add to the boiling water and cook for 20-25 minutes or more until fork tender and soft to the bite. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a large deep bowl, place the ground veal and break it up a bit with your hands, add the 2 eggs and season with salt and pepper. Blend this mixture a bit and add in the minced garlic and seasoned breadcrumbs and mix.
  5. Add a splash of whole milk if too dry and mix well until the mixture forms a ball easily. Add some fresh chopped parsley leaves at the finish and combine well.
  6. By hand, form small meatballs and place them on a tray until all the meat mixture has been formed. The meatballs should be about teaspoon size or so.
  7. In a large deep nonstick skillet, add some olive oil and place on medium heat.
  8. Add the meatballs without crowding and brown them lightly until golden in color. Remove and cook all remaining meatballs until mixture is done. Set aside.
  9. In a large soup stock pot add the homemade chicken stock and, the minced garlic clove and the cooked meatballs (add in as many as you wish and freeze the rest for later.)
  10. Let this simmer on medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes and taste for seasonings (add salt and pepper to taste.)
  11. Once this has cooked for no more than 15 minutes or so, remove from the heat and serve immediately in bowls topped with chopped fresh parsley and grated parmigiano cheese at the table.
  12. {Option:} Just before serving, place the zuppa on a very low simmer and in a small bowl, beat 2-3 eggs (depending on size) with a handful of grated cheese, the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Beat this mixture together until well blended. While the zuppa is simmering very slowly, drizzle the mixture into the simmering zuppa and stir with a wooden spoon.
  13. Remove from heat and serve immediately. I love this heartier version when I am eating the zuppa with a small salad as my evening meal.
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