Italian Recipe: Bollito — or Brodo — di Carne (Meat Soup)

There are variations of this soup depending on the region of Italy you visit, but this is how Nonna Romana makes it.

By: Rossella Rago, Cooking with Nonna


Serves: 4

For the Bollito:

  • 2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes) peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup carrots cut into a ¼ inch dice
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into a ¼ inch dice
  • 2 plum tomatoes cut into a 1 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup stalks of celery cut into a ½ inch dice and a few leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces cut spaghetti


  1. Trim the excess fat off of the short ribs with a knife, and set aside.
  2. Put a large 6-quart stock pot over a high flame, add the water and short ribs, and bring to a boil.
  3. Skim any foam that floats to the surface with a spoon and discard. Once boiling, add in the potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, oil, salt and the bay leaves. Turn the flame down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is tender and begins to separate from the bone–about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  4. When the soup has about 20 minutes to go, bring pasta water to a boil. Break the spaghetti by hand into 2 inch pieces and drop them into salted boiling water. Cook until al dente.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to a bowl. Ladle the broth on top. Serve with lots of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.

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