The traditional beginning of the Neapolitan Easter meal, this is by today’s standards somewhat heavy. Should you prefer, make broth and serve it with tagliolini (similar to tagliatelle but about an eighth of an inch across). If you intend to follow tradition, this recipe is after Cavalcanti, the great Neapolitan gastronome of the mid-1800s.
To serve 6:
- 3/4 pound (300 g) breast of veal
- 1 pound (450 g) beef shank
- 3/4 pound (300 g) pig’s tails (substitute lean pork if you prefer)
- 3/4 pound (300 g) Neapolitan sausages
- 1/2 pound (200 g) Neapolitan salami
- Fresh parsley and thyme
- A little bit of rosemary
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 1.5 quarts (1.5 liters) water
- 5 pounds (2 k) cardoons stripped of their fibrous threads, or 5 pounds leafy vegetables (savoy cabbage, lettuce, beet greens etc.)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- Salt (to be added at the end)
- Pepper or hot pepper to taste
On Easter Eve make broth using the meat and the herbs; begin with cold water to cover and place the herbs in a gauze pouch so you can remove them easily when the broth is done (an hour or somewhat more simmering; taste the liquid and correct seasoning). Remove and discard the herbs. Remove the meat from the broth, pluck it from the bones, and set it in a bowl, with enough broth to cover.
The next day skim the fat from the bowl and the soup pot and stir in the wine. Scrub chop and boil the greens until almost done, drain them well, and finish cooking them in the broth with the meats, seasoning to taste. Serve with slices of toasted bread.