Zuppe (Soups): The Italian word “zuppa” refers to a soup made with a broth (of meat, fish, pulses or vegetables) and served with small pieces of bread, either toasted, or fried in oil or butter. Bread Soup (made with stale bread) is probably one the oldest recipes in rural culinary tradition. Among the various versions which can be found in Italy, there are a number of Piedmontese varieties, some of which are cooked in the same way and perhaps only present small variations and differing names, such as “Supa Mitunà” and “Supa Barbetta”, for example. “Supa Mitunà” is typical of the Eporediese and Biella areas. It is allowed to cook mitunà (on a very low flame) for as long as it takes for the liquid to evaporate, and is then put in the oven to cook “au gratin”. “Supa Barbetta” is typical of Waldensian cooking. Tradition requires that the dish be prepared in a copper pot placed on a lively flame and allowed to cook very slowly. The main ingredients, apart from bread, are hard cheese and butter. The soup is so-called because Barbet was the name given to those people of Waldensian persuasion. Among the pulse-based soups typical of Piedmont, we can cite Cisrà, characteristic of the Langhe area and made with chickpeas and tripe served in a bowl. Another soup widespread in Piedmont is made with beans and various parts of the pig. It takes different names according to exactly where it is prepared, for example “Ola al Forn” in the Occitan Valleys, “Supa Crinoira” in the Waldensian Valleys, “Feisiou a l’Eitrito” in the Upper Susa Valley and “Tofeja” in the Upper Canavese. In the spring, in the Canavese area, the traditional “Supa d’Ajoche” are prepared using “Ajucche” (PAT), traditionally used herbs which grow wild and abundant in that particular area.
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