Tuscan Spring Vegetable Soup (Garmugia)

>> Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tuscan Spring Vegetable Soup (Garmugia)

Spring comes earlier to Tuscany than it does to Northern Illinois, and we're wishing the warm weather would get a move on up here and get things blooming. Garmugia is a traditional soup in the western part of Tuscany, around Lucca. Once the first spring vegetables ripen, this quick and cheery soup is a welcome change from the root vegetables and cabbages from our winter diet. Can you imagine how much more welcome these fresh vegetables would have been centuries ago, before the advent of frozen foods and fast worldwide shipping?

When I saw these pretty asparagus spears and fresh English peas, I was craving this soup. It's typically made with fresh asparagus, peas, fava beans, and artichokes, and pancetta and ground veal for richness. Don't they look delicious down there?

Fresh veggies for Garmugia soup

We had some ham broth left over from our Easter dinner, so I passed on the ground veal just to lighten up the recipe. It was so satisfying.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound ground veal (optional)
1/2 cup pancetta, cut into matchstick pieces
6 cups ham or chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh fava beans
2 baby artichokes
1/2 tsp fresh sage, snipped
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1 cup fresh peas
1 cup fresh asparagus tips

For the croutons

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


In a large stock pot, saute the onion, veal (if using), and pancetta until the onion is soft and the meat browned on all sides. Pour in the meat stock and bring to a boil.

Quarter each artichoke. Cut all of the tough outer leaves off the the artichokes, trimming them to just around the meaty heart. Add the artichoke hearts, fava beans, sage, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas and asparagus and simmer about 15 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender.

Saute the garlic in the oil until tender, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the bread cubes and brown them on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve the soup with the croutons sprinkled across the top, and a little grated Romano cheese if you like.

Serves 4-6.


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