This is a HUGE recipe - the ingredient list flows down an entire page. One gets intimidated.
Yes, one does.
Then one looks at the meat stock recipe on p. 15 and truly overwhelmed, one decides to save the soup for another day.
That day came and thank goodness I decided to not take the short cut of using a can of broth (??????). I won't judge those who do . . . well perhaps I will judge them a wee bit.
Marcella's stock recipe does make a wonderful flavourful stock. I've made liters of the stuff over the years but none have approached this stock for flavour. Mind you, using five pounds of meat, and 6 different veggies, ought to impart some flavour. You get out what you put in.
Italians use broth in a multitude of dishes - risotto, soups, the braising of meats, and some pasta dishes. Given the importance of such a prime 'background' ingredient for these other recipes, Marcella provides a detailed and well executed broth recipe.
I learned some important things from Marcella - pork or lamb aren't a good base for broth because their flavour can be strong thereby overpowering whatever prime ingredients are to go in the final dish in which you use the broth. Similarly, chicken giblets should be avoided (now that is prime advice. Avoid those nasty bits like you would Paris Hilton would be MY advice. Marcella is far more honorable than I!).
Anyway, a long and drawn out way of saying - nice broth Marcella. The containers of it frozen in freezer # 2 await future use.
Broth at hand (OK. In pot) I started my soup.
This soup is from the area around Norvara which I discovered was in Piemonte (thank you GOOGLE maps) which has got to be one of my favourite areas in Italy. Marcella writes that this soup has 'two lives' first as a soup and then as a base for a wonderful risotto (more on that later when we explore the risotto chapter).
You can enjoy the soup as is, save some for the risotto, or if you wish refrigerate it for a few days and alter it by adding pasta thus ending up with a wonderful new version.
We LOVED this soup with its intense combination of pork belly, onions, carrot, celery, zucchini, shredded red cabbage, beans, tomatoes, and a healthy amount of delicious broth. It was rich, thick, and immensely satisfying.
Shame that Paolo took some to work and spilled it ALL over his lunch bag. What a waste.
Don't be put off by the list of ingredients . . . the list may flow down the page but the compliments to the chef will flow far more when you serve this soup to your lucky guests!