The Italian Wedding Soup or Italian Married Soup (Minestra Maritata – ‘A Menesta’ Mmaretata in Neapolitan) is one of the oldest recipes of Naples imported by the Spanish around 1300, in fact in Spain there is a traditional recipe, the “Olla Potrida”, which has all the ingredients of the Neapolitan soup.
It is eaten especially at Christmas and Easter but is generally prepared during the winter period. The name of the Wedding Soup, that is, married, derives from the perfect combination of the various ingredients and which are, precisely, perfectly married to each other.
A traditional dish, simple and with “poor” ingredients where the flavors are combined giving life to a decidedly delicious soup. In the past, the pig’s leg, ham bone and pork rind were used to make the dish even more tasty. Today the Neapolitan Married Soup is a dish prepared in every Italian region and each family has its own version of the dish.
In ancient times the Neapolitan-style soup was accompanied by the “scagliuozzi”, that is the triangles of fried polenta that, in Naples, it is usually possible to find inside the “cuoppo” (a paper cone) of mixed fry. Today it is possible to accompany the soup with the bread left over from the previous days or toasted bread.
By the way, this soup is not served at weddings!
First prepare a broth with the meat: put some oil in a deep pan and the onion, let it brown a little bit. Put all the meat and turn it on each side.
Add water until you cover the whole content, anyway until the edge of the pan. At half cooking add the sausage.
Cook for about 2 hours with low/medium flame. Meanwhile wash the vegetables and cut them into big pieces.
When the broth is ready, strain it and keep the meats aside. Then add the vegetables to the broth and cook for about half an hour.
Finally add the meat and cook for about 10 minutes more and serve accompanied by some toasted bread.
The Wedding Soup should be stored in the refrigerator. Then pour it into an airtight container and keep it for a maximum of 3 days.
If you don't like the pork foot you can replace it with ham bone or more sausage.
It seems that in the in the original recipe of married soup was added the “pezzentella” sausage, a typical Campanian sausage made with pork waste resulting from the processing of pork.
In addition to the Neapolitan version there is also the Apulian version, very similar but a little lighter. This Apulian Married Soup in fact provides for less types of meat and more vegetables. It is made in fact with chicory, endive, celery, wild fennel, meat broth and pancetta or lard, all flavored with abundant grated pecorino.