Italian Renaissance spring soup (Garmugia)

Scrumptiously flavorful soup made with a variety of fresh spring produce and ground veal.


prep 0:45       total 0:45


8 to 10 servings



For the soup

2 cups fresh (or frozen) shelled peas
2 cups fresh (or frozen) shelled fava beans (replace with endamame or
lima beans if you can't find them)
2 cups minced spring onions (replace with scallions or
leeks if you can't find them)
2 cups asparagus (spears cut into slices; tips kept whole)
2 cups artichokes (chokes trimmed and cut into eight wedges; stems peeled and chopped; or
use frozen artichoke hearts cut into fourths)
2 lemons (not needed if using frozen artichokes)
1 bowl of water (not needed if using frozen artichokes)
8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
5 oz. minced pancetta (cured fatback)
1/2 lb. ground veal
2 qt. meat broth
A handful fresh thyme
20 turns of pepper mill)
2 tsp. salt

For the croutons

8 slices stale crusty bread
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
10 turns of pepper mill)
1 tsp. salt

To serve

8 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
Extra-virgin olive oil


1. Squeeze a lemon (or two) in a bowl of water to keep the artichokes from browning once you've trimmed and cut them.
2. Prepare all the vegetables and pancetta as described in the list of ingredients.
3. Heat the broth and bring to a boil.
4. Preheat the oven to 430°F.
5. Sauté the spring onions in the oil over medium heat. Let the onions sweat and become translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the pancetta. Let the fat from the pancetta melt. Turn up heat and add the veal. Let veal cook as you stir.
6. Drain the artichokes from the lemon water they'd been soaking in and add to pot. Stir them in and let them cook for about a minute. Add all the other vegetables and stir them in. Salt.
7. Pour the meat broth into the pot and let soup simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until vegetables are just cooked.
8. In the meantime prepare the croutons. Cut the bread as instructed in the ingredients and place them in an oven tray. Dress them with the thyme, pepper, olive oil, salt and garlic and toss. Put in a preheated 430°F oven till croutons get toasted (less than 10 minutes).
9. When soup is ready strip leaves off the sprigs of thyme directly over the soup grind in the pepper and stir.
10. To serve the soup ladle it into a bowl, top with the croutons, sprinkle 1-2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese over each serving and drizzle with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil.

Author's Comments

This recipe goes back to the 16th century and if it's been around for so long, it must be good. Actually, it's more than that, it's awesomely good! The dish comes from Lucca, one of Tuscany's prettiest cities. If you can't find the fresh ingredients or don't feel like shucking peas or trimming artichokes you can use them frozen. If you want to make a vegetarian dish, omit the veal and pancetta and replace the meat broth with vegetable broth.

I have posted a video on Youtube for those of you who would like to see how to make this dish. The link to the video is:

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