Cabbage Soup with Clams and Pancetta

The following is my interpretation of the cabbage soup from last weekend in Puglia.  I decided with Autumn in our midst that some crisped pancetta would make a nice addition to this dish.  I already consider cabbage an Autumn food so why not play that up?  Enjoy!

Cabbage Soup with Clams and Pancetta Recipe

1 Medium Head of Cabbage

8 oz. of Pancetta

1 Medium Onion, (Viadalia or any white variety)

1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream

2 Ibs. of Live Clams

Arugula for Garnish

  1. Cut Pancetta into small 3/16″ cubes and brown/crisp in a pot that will be used for cooking the cabbage. When crispy and nicely browned remove from the pot and drain on paper towels. Save some of the fat in the pot for browning the onions.
Crispy Pancetta
Crispy Pancetta

2.  Dice Onion into a fine dice and brown in the fat from the pancetta. Add additional oil if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Golden Onions
Golden Onions

3.  Chop cabbage into small to medium size pieces, removing the hardest part of the leaves from the heart of the cabbage.  Add to pot and fill with enough water to almost cover the cabbage.

4.  When the cabbage is cooked until tender puree it in a blender along with enough of the cooking liquid to maintain a soup like consistency.

5.  Return the pureed cabbage to the pot and add the cream. You may not need all the cream. Just add enough to smooth out the texture of the soup.  Salt the soup as needed at this point.

Clams in a Pan

6.  To cook the clams add a small amount of water to a skillet on medium heat. Add the clams in batches enough to cover the skillet and place a lid on the skillet.  Shake the pan gently to keep the clams on even heat. Allow all clams to open. Discard any of the clams that do not open and place opened clams on a plate and continue in batches until all the clams are done. Once all the clams are done remove the clams from their shell and reserve them for the soup.
7.  To assemble the soup ladle cabbage puree into  soup bowls and divide clams among the bowls. Sprinkle the crisp pancetta over each serving. Garnish with Arugula if desired.

Cabbage Soup Bowl I
Final Dish shown without Garnish

This dish should easily serve 4 people as a main dish.  It is nice to have with either croutons or sliced toasted bread of your choice. I toasted thin slices of walnut bread for mine which was a nice earthy contrast to the creamy soup.

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