Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup

comments: 30


I love winter cooking. I do not enjoy blogging winter cooking. Rather, I do not enjoy photographing wintertime dinners, because my kitchen is totally dark by four o'clock in the afternoon, and there is no option but to take photos in artificial light. Which I don't normally like to do. But that's winter for ya. You take what you can get as far as light goes.

This is Jamie Oliver's Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup (available at this link for a short time). I watched him make it on Jamie at Home (this links to a different episode, but if you've never seen the show it will give you the idea of why it's so cool) the other day, the "Winter Veg" episode, and it looked scrumptious. (And did you know he has his own magazine now? How in heaven's name do these people get so much done? I stand in bewildered awe.) I used a beautiful loaf of Como bread from Grand Central, and we still had sage in our garden. You grill the bread (I used a grill pan) and rub it with garlic, then layer it with Fontina and Parmesan cheeses, and Savoy cabbage and kale that have been simmered in chicken stock then sauteed with pancetta and anchovies. A lot of anchovies. Four ounces. And that was my problem. As I was rendering the pancetta with the anchovies, I could really smell the anchovies, like really really, and I got very nervous. But I kept going with it, and assembled the pungent, rustic stack, hoping for the best.

But it was too much. I took one bite and anchovy was all I could taste. I pushed my bowl away. But as quickly as I was finished with it all, Andy Paulson was there to swoop in and finish not only his but mine. He loved it. Love-love-loved it. He was psyched. I was just thrilled that someone was happy. I will make this again, but with only one or two little anchovies, instead of the sixteen or seventeen that went into this, because it makes a huge pot for just one person. I didn't know I was an anchovy wimp but I guess I am. And me the Italian in the family, too!

Now, please come to my last scheduled book-signing event at Bolt tonight!

Thursday, December 11
Bolt: A Fabric Boutique
2136 NE Alberta, Portland
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

I am really looking forward to it! I am enjoying these things so much. Who knew. A hermit like moi. Out in actual public.

Also, I meant to tell you yesterdy — thank you for all of the SASEs and sweet notes and little presents that have continued to fill my P.O. box lately! So, so sweet. I am so happy to sign bookplates for you anytime — keep sending requests to me — but, if you are trying to get the bookplates back before Christmas, please send your SASE today! The P.O. box is nowhere near where I live (long story) so I only get out there to check it once a week or so, so the turnaround on these is not exactly lightning speed. There is a bookplate-request button on my book page — just click on the button and it will take you to my address (and explain what a SASE is, too! :-). Thanks!!!


This soup looks so perfect for cold wintery days, hearty and aromatic. I wish there´d be some on my table right now. Have to try it someday soon... I can´t even remember what anchovies taste like! Don´t worry about the photos... the light just adds to the winter feeling :)

I was pretty intrigued with the photo and the recipe until you got to the anchovy party. I have never tasted an anchovy and I think I'm a little afraid to! Glad to hear Andy loved the soup so it wasted a total waste.

OK, what the heck kinda pan does one cook this soup in, anyway? What is a 4 inch-deep ovenproof casserole-type pan that is also stove-top safe??

I am planning on coming to Bolt tonight! Is there a chance that you might bring one of the Nutcracker dolls with you? The reason I ask is because putting the hair on has me all confused and attaching the arms with a whipstitch...Looking forward to seeing you!

I love the idea of a bread and cabbage soup but want to make a vegetarian version. Veggie stock is always an easy sub but does anyone have any suggestions for the anchovy substitution?

OMG! I totally made this soup this past weekend too! I saw the show and immediately cleaned and shopped and got ready to make awesome bready goodness.

We're vegetarian so I skipped the anchovy and pancetta part all together.

My problem with the soup was the pungent fontina. I love cheese, but this one just didn't mesh well for me. Too much!

But sure enough! Just like your Andy, my Ken came in, ate my bowl and two others. Men.

I think next time I'll make it with less fontina. Maybe a combo of cheeses? I love the idea of a bread soup. It just seems like this one needs some tweaking.

I followed the soup up with some white chocolate cranberry cookies, so that made every thing muuuuuuuuch better. ;)

My husbands latest travel-to-england-without-you bribery gift was actually the first issue of Jamie's magazine. It made the 10 days without dh and with children worth it to have this magazine in my hands. I'm looking forward to doing some cooking with it. Or at least dreaming about cooking with it.

You have no idea how much I wish I could come tonight! Is Andy a little thirsty this morning?

This reminded me of your fellow PNW'er Orangette's wonderful Chard, Onion, and Gruyere Panade - a similar style dish but no anchovies and absolutely delicious.

Recipe here:

Mmmm, I love anchovies. I agree about the smell though, they are pretty pungent when they first go in the pan. Once they cook down, they really mellow out (for me) and I don't really taste anything fishy. Definitely try again with fewer anchovies, they'll grow on you.

I saw this on Martha and was intrigued, but I didn't notice the anchovies! Hm. Here's the recipe and video on her site:

Miss Alicia, I sure wish you'd come down to L.A. for a book signing......I'm sure you have a lot of fans down here! If you do plan a trip south, there are many wonderful bookshops that would love to have you! I'm SO there!

Alicia, tell me puh-leeze, what type of grill pan you use and if you love it. I just asked for one for Christmas as we are in a major panini phase and I want one without yucky teflon. I'd love to know what you are using.

the picture sure looks yummy. i'd have to cut back on the anchovies too. i mean they are good but not that good. just a little bit for me, please.
and you ask how do "these" people get so much done? it's crazy huh. with assistants, photographers, make-up artists, set stylists, and all the other stylists . . . can you imagine? you certainly wouldn't have to worry about any lighting for your food shot because there'd be a lighting guy for that too. :)

Mmm, that looks and sounds very good. I'm not so sure about that much anchovy, but will likely cut back some and give it a try anyways.

I really like cabbage and I like anchovies too. I would probably have elbowed Andy out of the way to get to your bowl. Sorry Andy. :) xxoo

Mmmm anchovies, I'm with Andy too. Although maybe not that many!

The soup looks divine. :o)

It was so wonderful to meet you and Andy tonight. You two are terrific, just terrific! I've still got goosebumps...

p.s. You've got awesome penmanship, too. :)

favourite blog
favourite blog
favourite blog!

did I mention yours is my favourite blog?

love the Christmas village and love the title pic for the blog.


I just watched this episode that I TiVoed too! My husband and I thought the soup looked really strange, but somehow Jamie makes everything look AMAZING! Didn't know he had a mag - I'll have to look for it.

I've been reading your blog for over a year now and I love it more and more everday! I'm also an avid BUST reader and was overjoyed when I saw the apron pattern in their December/January issue. Cute, cute, cute!

Hi Alicia, I don't comment very often but I've been following your blog for ages and really enjoy it. I just had to say I love this recipe! My lovely boyfriend has cooked it for me several times (although we skip the anchovies altogether because he's allergic) and it's one of my favourite winter warmers!

Although a total vegetarian now, I had an anchovy incident years ago,too...trying to impress a boyfriend (did I say YEARS ago?)Caesar Salad that called for a ton of anchovies plus inedible salad....YUK! It was disgusting and neither of us liked it! Yea for Andy Paulson!

I love your blog!

I love Jamie Oliver, but he does seem to go overboard on some ingredients sometimes. I've made his chicken caesar salad a few times, and he recommends WAY too much bacon. Way, way too much. This soup looks really good, but I think I'd reduce the anchovies, too!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.