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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Zuppa alla Valpellinese | Italian Cabbage Zuppa Recipe

Contrary to popular translation, the Italian word “zuppa” doesn’t really mean “soup.” The term specifically refers to a category of dishes with a foundation of bread (preferably on the stale side) soaked in broth. Zuppa alla Valpellinese, hailing from the northern Italian region of Valle D’Aosta, is a great example of how thick, filling, and un-soup-like a zuppa really is!

Zuppa alla Valpellinese | Italian Cabbage Zuppa Recipe

Try to find an excellent beef broth or, better yet, make your own. The bread makes a big difference: homemade is definitely best but otherwise find a simple, crusty bread with as few ingredients as possible. This dish was invented to reuse stale bread, so we recommend using bread that is two or three days old.

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Makes: Serves 3 to 4

Cook Time: 45 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 6 ½ cups (1.5 L) beef broth

  • ½ large green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

  • About ½ loaf of bread (~14 ounces or 400 g), sliced (see above)

  • 7 ounces (200 g) fontina or aged asiago cheese, chopped

  • A pinch of cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter

In a pot, bring the beef broth to a boil and add the sliced cabbage. Boil the cabbage until it is very tender—about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, lay slices of bread to form a single layer in the bottom of a 1.5 quart (1.5 L) casserole dish. Cut smaller pieces of bread to fill in any gaps and create an even layer. Evenly distribute about ⅕ of the chopped cheese on top of the bread.

Repeat these steps to assemble 2 to 3 more layers of bread/cheese, leaving some space on top for the cabbage.

Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).

When the cabbage is very tender, use tongs or a slotted spoon to drain it and set it aside. Ladle hot broth into the dish until the liquid level reaches the top layer of bread. Spread the cabbage on top to evenly cover the bread.

Top the cabbage with the remaining chopped cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon. In a small dish, microwave the butter until melted and evenly pour it over the cabbage.

Bake the zuppa for 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted and begun to crisp. Let the zuppa rest for a few minutes before serving.

Buon appetito!

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