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Le Virtù

The "virtues": a typical recipe of the area of Teramo, rich in history and traditions. Ingredients: all qualities available of fresh vegetables, beans, fresh peas and broadbeans, pork meat (bacon, ham, lard, cuttings), aromatic herbs
Preparation
  • In a big pot (caldaio) cook the many qualities of vegetables
  • In another pot boil cotiche, pork ears and legs, big pieces of ham that you will deprive of the bone and cut in smaller pieces when cooked.
  • In still another pot boil in abundant water all the dry beans (fagioli, ceci, lenticchie) and, when they are nearly cooked, add fresh peas and broadbeans.
  • Prepare a "soffritto" of minced lard, garlic, fresh onions, maggiorana and mentuccia, drain the beans, and add the soffritto to their pot
  • Add the meat with its broth to the beans, then the cooked vegetables, and if necessary some salt, and then leave the soup to boil.
  • In still another pot cook different qualities of pasta, also some hand-made, drain when they are "al dente", and add to the soup, cooking for some more minutes.

Commentary
This is a delicious soup of vegetables and meat, a specialty of the province of Teramo, where it is still traditionally prepared on May 1. Long time (48 hours) and a great many ingredients are required. This is a family affair, a number of persons are necessary to preapare and cook separately all the ingredients. There are many variations of this celebrated soup, almost one recipe and special ingredient for each village. Its origin is lost in time, but certainly shows how gastronomy was always connected to good family economy.

At the end of winter almost all provisions were over, and there was something left of this and something of that. This great soup is an exquisite solution to clear out the stores before the new harvest. And it is made in large quantities, to be consumed also in the following days. It is healthy, rich and easy to digest, since all the meat is boiled pork. And in the days when every ingredient is boiled, the houses and streets are filled of odors of aromatic herbs, meat, beans and vegetables cooking slowly in the big pots.

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