Cassoeula [kaˈsøla] specialty typically from Milan, Lombardy. It is considered a ‘poor man’s dish,’ prepared with Savoy cabbage and pork, in fact it uses less choicer parts of the latter, but makes for a hearty winter meal. As per tradition, the cabbage should be used only after the first frost. It was a favorite of conductor Arturo Toscanini who described it as a “pleasure that it furnishes the soul as well as the palate, especially on a wintry day.”
500 g Savoy cabbage
300 g pork ribs
100 g pork rind (cleaned, scrapped and washed)
2 verzini per person (verzini are small pork sausages typically from Lombardy)
2 trotters (cleaned, scrapped and washed) (optional)*
1 ear (cleaned, scrapped and washed) (also optional)*
nose and tail of the pork (optional)*
100 g carrots
100 g celery
100 g sliced onion
50 g butter
1 glass of white wine (optional)
pepper to taste (optional)
In a large pot boil pig’s trotters cut in half, rind and the ears for an hour. This will help to partially ‘de-grease’ the pork thus making it easier to digest.
In a large casserole melt butter in low heat and lightly brown the onion. Add the ribs, ears and the rind cut in small strips and cook for a few minutes until they become a little golden. Add celery, carrots and a glass of white wine. Finally add a spoonful of broth and salt and pepper to taste. Combine everything, cover and let cook at low heat for approximately an hour. Check from time to time to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom. If needed add more broth.
Meanwhile, clean the cabbage and cut it in small pieces. Cook the cabbage in a pot with very little water for 5-10 minutes or until it softens. Place this in the casserole and add the verzini. Cover once again and let cook at medium heat for additional 30 – 45 minutes checking to make sure it does not stick to the pot.
The cassoeula can be eaten alone or accompanied by polenta.
*Although these items feature in traditional recipes they are less commonly used nowadays.