Red Cabbage Soup with Crispy Guanciale, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Grapes

Lorenzo Polegri

Zeppelin Restaurant & Cooking School, Orvieto, Italy

Lorenzo Polegri and his fiancé and cooking partner, Kim Brookmire, base this soup on a family favorite prepared by his father, who always makes his version during the height of autumn: when the last grapes hang from the vines and fresh olive oil has just been pressed. To achieve a more refined texture, Polegri and Brookmire purée their soup with an immersion blender.


  • 1/4 pound guanciale or pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 3/4 cup red wine

  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings as needed
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, cut into quarters

  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed


In a large pot over medium heat, fry the guanciale until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain and cool.

Add the onions and garlic to the leftover guanciale fat in the pot. Sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock and bay leaf. Return to a simmer and continue simmering over low heat until the cabbage is tender, about 1 hour. Add more stock if necessary.

Let the soup cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Purée with an immersion blender, then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and place some guanciale on top of each serving. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and grapes. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with more shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side.


6 servings