Italian wedding soup

Luca Villari and Spacca restaurant head chef Gaetano Spinosa share this recipe for delicious minestra maritata, also known as married soup. So-named for the ingredients working so well together they are 'married' to one another

By Luca Villari
  • 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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Deep-fried polenta
  • 220 millilitre water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 90 gram instant polenta
  • 2 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 30 gram chilled butter
  • 1 egg, whisked, seasoned and mixed with 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
Minestra maritata
  • 800 gram fresh clams, scrubbed and rinsed in cold running water
  • 100 millilitre olive oil
  • 800 millilitre fish stock
  • 600 gram boneless fresh fish fillets
  • 800 gram mix chopped endive, chopped iceberg lettuce and rocket leaves
  • 18 whole prawns, peeled
Garnish (optional)
  • 20 gram cacao powder
  • 20 gram ground almonds
  • 20 gram chopped garlic


  • 1
    Bring water to the boil and add the salt and polenta. Whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes over heat, then remove from heat and keep whisking. Add parmesan and butter (you may not need it all) and keep whisking until polenta is thick but spreadable.
  • 2
    Spread the polenta in a 2cm-thick layer on an oiled tray, making sure it is level. Chill in the fridge until completely cool.
  • 3
    When cool, slice into 4cm x 2cm pieces. Dip in the parmesan egg wash and then coat in the breadcrumbs.
  • 4
    Heat vegetable oil in a small pan and deep fry polenta until light brown and crispy on the outside. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • 5
    Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat. Add clams, olive oil and fish stock, cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
  • 6
    When the clam shells open (takes just a few minutes), take saucepan off heat, remove clams and set aside. Quickly place fish in saucepan and pile vegetables on top. Cover with lid and steam (off the heat) for 4-5 minutes.
  • 7
    Remove meat from clam shells and discard shells. Add clam meat and prawns to saucepan, replace lid and steam (off the heat) for 1 minute.
  • 8
    Spoon soup into bowls and add a piece or two of fried polenta. If you want to make a garnish, grind cacao, almonds and garlic into a powder using a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Sprinkle over the top of each bowl and serve.

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