Cardoon Soup (Minestra di Cardi)
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2lbs (800g) of fresh Cardoons
  • Salt
  • 1 Lemon
  • For the Broth
  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Onion
  • Salt
  • For the Meatballs
  • 400g (16oz) Ground Beef or Lamb for the meatballs
  • 1 handful of freshly grated Pecorino (or a mild Romano)
  • 3 Eggs
  • Egg stracciatelle
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 handfuls of freshly grated Pecorino
  1. Clean The Cardoons by cutting the bottom off and stripping away the fibrous spines – the same as if you were pulling the tough fibers out of a celery stalk. Be careful when removing the spines as they can hurt if they get lodged in your fingers. Trim away all the woody hearts of the larger stalks, wash well, and rub with lemon to stop them going black. Cut each stalk into half ready for the boiling process (you can also boil them the day before you cook the soup).
  2. Boil the halved stalks in plenty of salted water for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Let cool, and then cut into 1.5 cm (half-inch) pieces.
  3. Prepare the rich chicken stock by boiling 1 whole onion, the 2 celery stalks and a whole chicken (capon) with a pinch of salt for 4 hours in a covered pot.
  4. Whilst this is cooking, prepare the meatballs, these can be made ahead or even frozen in advance. In a large bowl combine the meat, 3 eggs, 1 cup of finely grated Pecorino and a pinch of salt together. Don’t overdo the salt as Pecorino is quite a salty cheese. Roll into tiny meatballs that are no bigger than the size of hazelnuts.
  5. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the liquid you’ve been simmering it in. In this large stock pot, brown the meatballs and then add back in the stock and cardoons, bringing it all slowly back up to the boil and then allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Once it is gently simmering add 4 beaten eggs into the soup, whisking them with a fork to scramble into stracciatelle; add a handful of pecorino cheese according to taste.
  6. For those that don’t like egg >stracciatelle, we suggest instead substituting it with a small square egg noodle pasta or pastina.
  7. Remove from heat & serve immediately with a side dish of Pecorino
Recipe by Life in Abruzzo Food & Travel Guide at