The first meat of May

Cicciata by Giovanna Voria
Cicciata by Giovanna Voria

By Carmen Autuori

In the peasant world, May was a month of waiting, sometimes full of worries, for the success of the new crop. It was during this month that there was a strong fear of a prolonged winter, until now all food supplies to ensure survival had been exhausted. With this in mind, we have relied on authentic rites of passage, even if on the table, to summon the arrival of spring, when nature will once again be a fertile “mother”. Thus, on May 1, “cicciata”, a soup of mixed legumes and cereals, was born, which is still prepared today in many cities of Cilento and other regions of central and southern Italy.

The origin of food is very ancient. comes from Panspermia a soup made from various seeds, considered a symbol of rebirth, prepared on the occasion of the spring festivities dedicated to the memory of Hellene. Dionysius. This custom was also preserved in ancient Rome, where it received its name.virtue“, whose root”virtue“The power (energy) expected from the new production period retains its meaning.

Cicciata - Giovanna Voria
Cicciata – Giovanna Voria

It happened once again to save this ancient recipe from oblivion due to emigration and the consequent draining of the innermost Cilento. Giovanna VoriaAmbassador of the Mediterranean diet and its spirit”Corbella“In cicerale. This soup is prepared after the sowing is over and a plate is offered to the neighbors as a good omen. It is based on all the seeds left over from the sowing of about twenty legumes and cereals, which have been soaked and cooked separately. Finally, when they are cooked, they are mixed and seasoned with various aromatic herbs. it is prepared to taste with aromatic onion saute.

“The great symbolic value of the food associated with abundance gave me the idea to serve it at the wedding reception organized in Corbella – says the volcanic Giovanna – and it was a real success. Of course, the preparation is long and laborious, but only in this way, these ancient recipes through great events We can preserve their memory by explaining it.

Cicciata - Virtues of Teramo
Cicciata – Virtues of Teramo

As we said, this mixture of cereal legumes is not only in Cilento, but in other regions, esp Abruzzoin the province Teramo: we are talking Virtue of Teramo. Here, too, the passionate story of this dish, which retains its beneficial properties, has been prepared by a historic family of restaurateurs since 1880. Daniele Zunica the owner Hotel and Restaurant Zunica 1880 In Civitella del Tronto.

Cicciata - Daniele Zunica
Cicciata – Daniele Zunica

“The food comes from emptying the winter cupboards. In the peasant kitchen, nothing was thrown away, various dry beans left on the ground, leftover pasta, spring vegetables, herbs from the hills, all the smells and flavors of the village were collected to prepare a soup of about fifty products, Zunica explains. This is a spring soup, it makes no sense to call it minestrone. Above all, there is a great school behind this dish, and it is above all a sharing dish; Even today, virtues are shared with neighbors. In the past, not sharing food was equivalent to a real declaration of war.” It is not easy to make the dish come true, it requires a balance so that the flavors do not overwhelm. It begins by lightly frying the pork pieces in plenty of oil and a mixture of herbs, greens and vegetables: fresh garlic and onion, rosemary, marjoram, piperella, parsley, sage, nutmeg, dill, celery, carrot, wild mint, fennel. A sprig of fennel should be saved to add at the end. We continue by adding meatballs, pork ribs, pieces of raw ham, previously lean pork rinds, pork leg cartilage, and boiled meats from the previously prepared pork broth. Traditionally, ham bone is also used in the preparation of broth. All these ingredients are boiled in well-oiled pork broth. After a while, previously blanched and coarsely chopped vegetables are added (endive, wild chicory, scrippin, dandelion, chard, agretti, spinach, artichoke, wild asparagus, sorrel). Then the legumes are added: “borlotti and cannellini” beans, peas, lentils, cicerchia and finally peas and beans. When the boiling is at a good point (it should slowly reach a fairly uniform cooking), the pasta is cooked separately in salted water. Different types of pasta are used, both dry and homemade, with water and flour or eggs: tagliolini, maltagliati, macaroni grossi, sagne, patellette.

Corbella Farm

Viscigline neighborhood

Cicerale (Sa)

Phone 0974/834511

Zunica 1880 Restaurant and Hotel

Piazza Franciscus Filippi Pepe, 14

Civitella del Tronto (Te)

Phone 0861/91319


Giovanna Voria recipe registered

Cicciata - ingredients
Cicciata – ingredients


20g (dry) of each of the following seeds

Peas from Cicerale


Fava beans

Borlotti beans

Cannellini beans

Controne beans


Red beans

Peas and beans

Water beans

Striped beans

Eye beans




3 types of Cilento wheat

Dry peas


For the saute

Cilento DOP extra virgin olive oil

½ onion

1 clove of garlic

1 sprig parsley and 1 celery


Cicciata from Cilento
Cicciata from Cilento


The previous evening, soak the different pulses and cereals separately, always boil them separately and only when cooked, mix them in a pot with salt and continue to cook on low heat.
Put the oil, onion, garlic, chopped celery and parsley, red pepper (optional) in a pan and pour the saute into the soup, cook for a few more minutes to flavor it. Serve warm with homemade bread croutons.

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