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Time has erased the class distinctions in between the 2 categories the Italian soups: zuppa and also minestra. However, their particular names and also characteristics reflect your markedly contrasting pedigrees.



What is Minestra?

Minestra predates Zuppa through a good few centuries. Obtained from the Latin ministrare, meaning "to administer", the word reflects the fact that minestra was offered out from a central bowl or pot through the figure of government in the household. Minestra was traditionally the principal—and for the poor—the only course the the meal. Today, it is a blanket term referring to a very first course that vegetables, legumes, pasta or rice cooking in a stock. Risotti and pasta key such together spaghetti alla vongole are occasionally referred to together minestre asciutte or "dry" minestre.Minestrone is just one of countless minestra soups. Local variations abound but a minestrone must always include a "thickening vegetable" such as fresh or dried beans or other legumes, potatotes, pumpkin or squash. It must also include pasta or rice. As a soup, the is impressive in that it is delightful at assorted temperatures from warm to tepid to cold (though not directly out that the fridge), making that a soup for all seasons.



What Is Zuppa?

Zuppa refers to a broth which, with a couple of exceptions, has slices that bread in it yet never rice or pasta. The Italian native - together with the French soupe, Portuguese and Spanish sopa and also German suppe - derives indigenous the Gothic suppa, definition "soaked bread". That part of bread encapsulates the much less salubrious origins of this soup. In medieval times, the plates on the tables the the nobility took the form of trenchers of sliced bread. This "plates", which finished up saturated through the juices of meats and other foodstuffs placed ~ above them, were consequently cooked by the servants, in water or stock, because that their very own meal.Given its starts essentially as cooked dishwater, zuppa was obviously never ever seen ~ above the tables of the rich. Not also the now prized luxury seafood extravaganza of zuppa di pesce (literally "fish soup", back shellfish is frequently included) make an appearance. This zuppa was originally fishermen's fare, make from the part of the record not considered commercially beneficial and hence not destined for the markets. Tomatoes, now a usual ingredient, gone into the equation only in the 18th century.With the revival of attention in traditional peasant foods, the humble zuppa has accomplished respectability. There room myriad local zuppe and also some have not only got special names however have to be elevated to the condition of venerated standards in Italian cooking worthy that restaurant tables. Examples include:

the Tuscan ribollita (literally "re-boiled"), an nearly solid soup the beans, black color cabbage (cavolo nero ) together with the intensely environment-friendly cabbage referred to as cavolo verza . This is always made a job or two before being eaten to allow the flavours to meld. That stands up extremely well to reheating and also a great one to make in mass for freezing.the Livornese cacciucco , a seafood soup spiked with generous amounts of garlic and also tiny, dried red chillies.

A classic Italian Zuppa

True Sicilian asparagus zuppa provides wild asparagus, which is more intensely flavoured than the cultivated range and slightly bitter. This feral form is obtainable in industries in Europe but near difficult to discover in shops in Australia. I have occasionally seen tiny quantities that it in ~ my greengrocer - imported indigenous France and also with one eye-watering price tag! i am told the feral asparagus deserve to be uncovered along nation railway tracks, these gift the naturalised offspring of seeds scattered by post-war 2 Italian immigrants but the exact locations room well-kept secrets!Although the adhering to recipe is a tame and non-traditional rendition the this classic Sicilian zuppa in that it uses grew asparagus, it's quiet delicious. You need to use gutsy, rustic, Italian-style bread, no the supermarket cotton-wool apologies because that bread. The former will hold its structure and also chewy texture despite the soaking. The last turns right into soggy noodle wool—hardly one appetising proposition!

Recipe: Zuppa Di Asparagi

(Serves 6 - 8)


1.5 kg asparagusOlive oil because that frying & to brush bread1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely1.5 litres veal or chicken stock6 - 8 slices day-old bread4 x 60 g eggs50 g freshly grated pecorino cheese*Salt and also ground black color pepper come taste


Trim asparagus spears to lengths of around 10 cm from the tip and cut these truncated spears right into 1.5 cm lengthy pieces. (The leftover, de-headed stems have the right to be offered in stir-fries or simmered for about half an hour through the stock because that the soup to intensify the asparagus flavour. Strain the stems native the stock before using for the soup.)Heat a few tablespoons the olive oil in a deep, heavy casserole over moderate heat.Add garlic and also asparagus pieces and fry until they simply start to colour.Add stock and also bring the soup to the boil.Meanwhile, warmth a tablespoon the olive oil in a frying pan.Brush the bread slices with olive oil.Fry lock until gold brown top top both sides.Drain fried bread on kitchen record set top top a rack.When the soup comes to the boil, beat the eggs in addition to the pecorino. Add egg mixture come the soup.Stir tenderness and permit the soup to simmer because that a few minutes or until the egg mixture coagulates.Remove from warmth immediately. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper come taste.Place a slice or two of fried bread in each bowl and also ladle the soup over. Serve immediately whilst the is quiet piping hot.

*Note: Pecorino, one ewe's milk cheese, has actually as numerous variations as there are regions in Italy. Ideally, this need to be made with Pecorino Siciliano. I usage Pecorino Sardo (from Sardinia) in the lack of the Sicilian one.


Lena Durante from mountain Francisco only Area on may 15, 2017:

Fascinating. I didn't realize a classic zuppa never contains rice or pasta!

I'm a real sucker because that asparagus. Your recipe look at delicious. I'm passionate to shot the technique of putting soup over fried bread!

Foodstuff (author) from Australia top top January 23, 2013:

Thanks for the feedback, Glass-Jewelry.

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Marco Piazzalunga native Presezzo, Italy on January 23, 2013:

Hello Foodstuff,

I am Italian and also your distinction is really sophisticated yet it tastes an extremely academic, in truth in the use of current Italian this distinction is not so relevant.