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The Cassœula is one of the most iconic dishes from Milan, and it was the favorite dish of the great conductor of the La Scala opera house Arturo Toscanini.

The Cassœula is a stew made with pork meat and cabbage that is usually served on soft and creamy polenta.  It’s the typical dish of November when the weather becomes cold and humid (especially in Milan).

In ancient times the Cassœula was cooked at the end of the pig-slaughtering season. The parts of the pig used for the dish were those ready for consumption immediately after slaughter, whereas the better cuts of meat would be hung to improve the flavor or would be used to produce salami and prosciutto.

There’s a tapestry owned by the Sforza Castle’s city museum in Milan, dating back to the XVI cent A.D, showing people cooking a similar dish. The tapestry is an allegory of November.

How to cook the Cassœula for 4 or 5 people


ingredients for the Cassœula, photo by Massimiliano Bergamaschi

  • 125 gms – 4.5 oz. pork rind cleaned and cut into strips
  • 500 gms – 1.1 lbs. pork ribs cut
  • 4 verzini sausages
  • 200 gms – 7 oz. luganighe sausages
  • 1 kg – 2.2 lbs. cabbage roughly shredded
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 120 ml – ½ cup white wine
  • 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper


Cook the pork rind in boiling water for 45 minutes, or until soft. Drain and dry it with kitchen paper and keep it aside. Wash and roughly shred the cabbage. Do not dry it. Please put it in a pot, cover it, and put it on a slow fire to soften for 5 minutes. In the meantime, sauté the chopped onion in the butter and extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add all the meat (apart from the rind) and brown it well. Add the white wine and burn off the alcohol. Then remove the meat and keep it aside. Put the chopped celery and carrots in the same pot and fry them until soft. Add the tomatoes, 1 tbsp of water, salt, and pepper to taste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the softened cabbage and then the meat and rind on the top Mix and cook, covered, for about 1 hour and a half or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Serve warm with some soft polenta.






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