The Savoury Side

Chef Giorgio’s Three Cabbage Lucca Soup (prepared & served under a Tuscan sky)

This is Chef Giorgio Giusfredi…

Chef Giorgio took on the challenge of cooking a vegetarian meal for my sisters and I in Italy. He arrived at the villa, in his typically relaxed and friendly style, with boxes and bags of goodies. We had no idea what he was about to prepare for us as the whole meal and experience was a gift from our incredibly generous host, Sonja.

Giorgio served us cheese & herb bruschetta, mushroom bruschetta and tomato brushcetta. Well, those were just the appetisers. What followed was a typical ‘Lucchese’ soup… then a pasta dish with chickpeas and THEN … a local bean dish.

The bean dish was prepared in the ‘Lucca way’ with sage, tomato and black pepper. To end off the feast, Giorgio created a simple dessert: poached peaches in wine which he served with ice cream. All cooked around the pool, under a hazy blue Tuscan sky. Needless to say, we sat around the table for most of the day!

My sisters and I have been bugging Chef G for his soup recipe ever since. It’s just arrived, written in his Italian-English.  To explain, ‘moil’ means hydrate or moisten and ‘tomatoes passata’ refers to skinned and seeded bottled tomatoes. Pinto beans can be used instead of Lucca beans.

The thing is, this recipe is never going to taste the same if it is prepared anywhere else in the world. As Giorgio says, ‘the very characteristic taste and flavour of Lucca Soup comes from the Tuscan black cabbage.’  My sister ‘Gablicious’ and I are still going to give it a bash anyway, using local cabbages and home-made bread.

Zuppa Lucchese

For 8

250 gr. Lucca’s dried red beans

1,5 kg. Cutted onion celery and carrot

500 gr. Black cabbage

500 gr. White cabbage

500 gr. Crispy cabbage

200 gr. Potatoes

200 gr. Zucchini

200 gr. Tomatoes passata

500 gr. Old salted hard Tuscany bread

Erbs(laurel, sage, Rosemary, basil parsley), salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil.


Moil and boil the beans. Fry in a pan half quantity of celery, carrot, onion, with erbs, oil, pepper, salt and the tomato sauce. Incorporate with beans and blend everything to prepare a bean stock. Add to the stock the other half of celery, carrot onion,  all the other vegetables cutted in slices, water and a lot of extra virgin olive oil. Let it cook 5 hours with very low flame. Adjust with salt. Moil the sliced and oiled old bread with a lot of soup. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Serve with extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.

More pics: since we didn’t know what was to follow, we were mad enough to have second helpings of the ‘Luccese Soup’…

Mad because we couldn’t quite fit in all that was to follow…

What a meal, what a day…

Thank you Sonja, Giorgio, J’y (!) and Christo. Also to our Italian God-father and Mama Mia x

Chef Giorgio Giusfredi can be contacted at