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Pastissada De Caval: the authentic Veronese Experience

Welcome to Verona, the city of love, romance, and delicious cuisine. While most people may associate Verona with its famous Shakespearean tragedy, there is so much more to this enchanting city. One of its hidden gems is a traditional delicacy known as Pastissada de Caval – a slow-cooked dish made with horse meat. This dish not only reflects the rich culinary history of Verona but also holds cultural significance in the local cuisine.

A brief history of Pastissada de Caval

The Pastissada de Caval, also known as “horse stew,” has a rich history and cultural significance in Verona. The origins of this recipe date back to the fifth century AD Between 28 and 30 September 489. The armies of Odoacre Principe degli Eruli and Teodoricoalla head of the Ostrogoths, faced each other in a terrifying battle for the control of the Italian peninsula, held right near Verona. The Veronese population, cut the meat into pieces, began to macerate in wine and spices to be able to prolong its conservation. Subsequently cooked on a slow heat, it soon became a dish so famous that it was handed down from generation to generation up to the present day.

Over the centuries, Pastissada de Caval has become deeply ingrained in the culinary traditions of Verona, with many families passing down their own unique recipes and techniques. This dish holds cultural significance, not just as a source of sustenance but also as a symbol of the city’s rich history and traditions.

Despite its long history, Pastissada de Caval has remained a popular dish in Verona, and its unique flavors and preparation methods have stood the test of time.

The Recipe of Pastissada de Caval

The key to a delicious Pastissada de Caval lies in high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing this authentic Veronese dish:

  1. Gather your ingredients: You will need horse meat, red wine, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, bay leaves, and olive oil.
  2. Marinate the meat: Cut the horse meat into cubes and marinate it overnight in red wine, garlic, and bay leaves to infuse it with flavor.
  3. Sauté the vegetables: In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add the meat and marinade: Remove the meat from the marinade and add it to the pot with the vegetables. Cook until the meat is browned on all sides.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients: Stir in the tomato paste, parsley, and remaining marinade. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2-3 hours.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Once the meat is tender, your Pastissada de Caval is ready to be served. Enjoy it with polenta or gnocchi for a traditional Veronese meal.

While the original recipe calls for horse meat, you can also try variations of the dish using beef, pork, or even chicken. Additionally, modern variations may include adding a splash of balsamic vinegar for a tangy kick or using a slow cooker for a more convenient cooking method.


The traditional preparation of Pastissada de Caval is a meticulous process that involves a variety of ingredients and techniques. After marinating, the meat is cooked slowly in a pot or a terracotta dish, often over an open fire. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender. The dish is typically served with polenta, a staple in Verona’s cuisine, and a side of vegetables or greens.

One special step in the preparation of Pastissada de Caval is the use of horse blood to thicken the sauce, giving it a rich and hearty texture. The combination of all these ingredients and techniques results in a flavorful and aromatic dish that is deeply ingrained in Verona’s culinary traditions.

Variations of Pastissada de Caval

Verona’s famous horse meat delicacy, Pastissada de Caval, has been adapted and modified over the years in different regions of the city. While the traditional recipe remains popular, there are also some interesting variations worth trying.

  1. Regional Variations:

In the Veneto region, Pastissada de Caval may include additional ingredients such as wild herbs, vegetables, or even dried fruit. In other areas, the dish may be prepared with a different type of meat, such as beef or pork, instead of horse meat.

  1. Creative Twists:

Some chefs and restaurants in Verona have put their own spin on the traditional dish, experimenting with ingredients like truffles or red wine to elevate the flavors of Pastissada de Caval.

  1. Modern Interpretations:

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards more modern and innovative versions of Pastissada de Caval. This may include deconstructed presentations, using unconventional cuts of horse meat, or incorporating international influences into the dish.

With so many unique variations to choose from, food lovers in Verona are sure to find a version of Pastissada de Caval that suits their tastes and preferences.

Experiencing Pastissada de Caval in Verona

For a truly authentic experience, there is no better place to try Pastissada de Caval than in Verona itself. This charming city is known for its rich culinary traditions and offers an array of options for experiencing this unique dish.

For a taste of traditional Pastissada de Caval, head to one of the local restaurants or trattorias that specialize in Veronese cuisine. These establishments often use family recipes that have been passed down for generations, ensuring an authentic and delicious meal.

When enjoying Pastissada de Caval in Verona, it’s important to be mindful of cultural etiquette. This dish holds a special place in the hearts of the locals, so be respectful of their traditions and customs.

Experiencing Pastissada de Caval in Verona is a must for any food enthusiast. Whether you choose to dine at a restaurant or make it yourself, the rich flavors and cultural significance of this dish will leave a lasting impression. So why not embark on a culinary adventure and discover the best Pastissada de Caval in Verona?