Stuffed Lettuce Leaves in Broth (Lattughe Ripiene in Brodo)

Stuffed Lettuce Leaves in Broth (Lattughe Ripiene in Brodo)

Zuppa di Lattughe Ripiene (Stuffed Lettuce in Broth) is traditionally served during Easter in Genova, the capital of the Ligurian region of Italy. “Pe Pasqua nu ghe cuxin-a ca nu fasse a laituga pin-a” is an old Genoese proverb meaning “For Easter, there’s no kitchen that doesn’t make stuffed lettuce”


  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 2 slices country-style Italian bread, about 1/4″ thick, crusts removed
  • 14 cup milk
  • salt
  • 14 lb. veal sweetbreads
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 12 lb. veal loin, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 14 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 heads butter lettuce, washed and separated
  • 8 cups rich chicken stock, warm


  1. Soak mushrooms in a bowl of warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. In another bowl, soak bread in milk until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add sweetbreads and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Remove and discard visible membranes, chop, and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Increase heat to medium-high and add sweetbreads, veal loin, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is brown, 5-7 minutes. Discard bay leaf, and stir in pine nuts, oregano, and parsley; set aside to cool.
  4. Drain, rinse, and chop mushroom. Transfer to a food processor, add meat mixture, and pulse until coarsely ground. Add bread, parmigiano-reggiano, nutmeg, eggs, and salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch 24 large lettuce leaves, a few at a time, until just-wilted, 2-5 seconds. Set leaves aside on a clean work surface.
  6. To assemble, place 2 tbsp. filling in each leaf. Fold in rib and top edge, then sides, to form a bundle. Continue until all filling is used. Place bundles (folded side down) in a large, deep skillet. Pour stock into skillet, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Transfer bundles to individual soup bowls, allowing 3 per serving. Ladle broth over top. Serve with parmigiano-reggiano, if desired.