Happy May 1st! Everyone has their own way of celebrating Labour Day. Here in Abruzzo we have our own…this day offers a typical dish, connected with this holiday – the “Virtù”. A dish full of different flavors born in the paesant culture which represent the imminent arrival of spring and rebirth.
Why are they called virtues and why do we eat them on this day?
It’s a typical recipe of the Teramo region and not a simple soup, given the variety of fresh vegetables, legumes and meats that make up this delicacy. It’s a balanced set of flavors and textures which has always been a symbol of hospitality and conviviality; marking the transition from winter to spring, combining winter legumes with the first fruits of the spring season.
Those, who cannot be with us, can use the following recipe to prepare this dish by themselves:
300 g of dry pasta (different shapes)
400 g of various kinds of pork (ham, legs, brawn, ear, snout, bacon, streaky bacon, ham bone)
250 g of dry legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
200 g of fresh legumes (peas, beans)
600 g of fresh vegetables (endive, broad-leaved endive, celery, carrots, courgettes, potatoes, cabbage, spinach, beetroot)
120 g uncooked ham, cut into cubes
40 g of the backfat
1 finely chopped onion
finely chopped cloves of garlic
1 bunch of mint leaves
1 sprig of wild fennel
1 pinch of thyme
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Soak dried legumes the previous evening, each separately, add a pinch of baking soda. Clean and wash fresh vegetables, then chop them coarsely. Scald bacon, jowls and ham bone in boiling water for at least an hour. Still apart cook soaked vegetables in lightly salted, boiling water and leave them in this water. Do the same with fresh vegetables.
Wash the pork, then singe, to remove dirt and bristles, put into a large pot and cook in boiling water, skimming the foam from time to time. Drain, cut into pieces and put back into the broth, remove the ham bone. Then add the vegetables along with the water and continue cooking in a half-covered pot. In a separate saucepan, brown chopped bacon and diced ham on the butter with a hint of garlic with all the fragrant vegetables, add salt and pepper and let it gain the perfect taste, stir from time to time.
Add the contents of the saucepan to the broth with vegetables and bring to a boil again. At the end add the pasta.
Serve sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and a little bit of olive.