Capù – Cabbage Rolls, Brescia Style


Hi, today I’m showing one traditional recipe typical of my area of origin (Brescia province, but Bergamo too): the “Capù” 🙂

It’s a word in the local dialect (which literally means “capon”, no idea why, I suppose that maybe originally it was a dish reminding a meat dish that people couldn’t afford), I don’t think that in Italian there is a single word for this 🙂

It’s another old recipe that originated in the poor agricultural society, so there was not a fix recipe but it was made with what was at home, and every family had (and still have) their own recipe. The older recipes where made without meat, then with the time has been added some, losing lightness but gaining taste 🙂

It’s very simple, it’s a meat filling wrapped in cabbage leaves. And this is how my mom makes it 🙂 it’s how we make them in the Lake Iseo area, but if you move few kilometers away you can find different recipes, for example in the near Valcamonica they are still made without meat but just with cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic and spices.

The filling is similar to the filling for the Casoncelli Bresciani, but with more meat and less breadcrumbs and less Parmigiano Reggiano.

The meat: there is not an absolute rule, it’s pork meat and it can be a fresh salami, the raw spiced meat before making the salami, sausages, or also cotechino.  Often also pork rinds are used in the sauce, and lardo or pancetta. Important, the salami and the sausage made in this area are not smoked, and the best ones are always made with pigs that have been raised in the family or by trustworthy friends, pigs that you know how they lived and what they ate. Moreover, every family that produces salami/sausages by their own have their favorite “norcino” to call, that is the man who is working the pork meat, and each of them has a different “recipe” for making salami and sausages, with different mixes of spices (the spices used here are almost always the same, but with different percentages).

The leaves: usually we use Savoy cabbage leaves, but often with a “trick”: they are Savoy cabbages whose seeds are planted and then transplanted in a different time (later) compared to the usual Savoy cabbage we all know, in this way in May-June we obtain a vegetable which has big separated leaves but it doesn’t develop the usual central compact body, and somehow the taste and texture is a bit different. But also with the usual Savoy cabbage is possible to do the “Capù”, and also with the chard leaves.


INGREDIENTS (for 12 “capù”, enough for 4-5 people, but the filling is for more, you can freeze it and use it other times):

  • 24 Savoy cabbage leaves (here we call them simply “foglie”), or chard leaves
  • 3-4 small sausages (not smoked, the Lombardy types if possible, but also any other Italian type sausages will work well), or the meat mixture of the salami (the raw spiced meat before making the salami in its skin, not smoked)
  • 100 g of mortadella (or cured ham)
  • 100 g of breadcrumbs (about, you’ll see from the texture if you need more or less)
  • 100 g of Grana Padano (or Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 egg
  • a small piece of lardo (or pancetta)
  • a small piece of butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 full spoon of triple tomato concentrate, or tomato sauce
  • pork rinds (if you like)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


  1. First of all prepare the filling: put the sausage (without the skin) and the mortadella (or the cured ham) in a food processor, and cut it with few impulses, it has not to be too small otherwise is too creamy.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs, the grated Grana Padano, the egg, the minced clove of garlic, the chopped parsley, salt, pepper and a soffritto made with lardo (or pancetta) and a little butter (or extra virgin olive oil), which you have to make in a pan.
  3. Mix well all together, and let it rest for a while.
  4. Now the leaves: remove the hardest white part, and then boil in water for few time, no more than 1 minute. Then dry them well on a clean towel. Now we have everything to start making our rolls 🙂
  5. Take 1 leaf, or 2 leaves if you prefer (as we do).
  6. Now create a small ball from the filling, and place it in the middle of the leaves. Then wrap completely the filling with the leaves, and finally tie the roll with a kitchen twine. Repeat the same with the other rolls 🙂
  7. Now take a pan and prepare a soffritto with some pancetta or “lardo pestato” (cut the lardo into thin slices and then hit it multiple times with the blade of a thick knife until you obtain a cream) and butter (or extra virgin olive oil), then when the lardo is completely melted add the triple tomato concentrate diluted in less than a glass of water (or use simply tomatoes or tomato sauce). Add also rosemary and/or sage leaves.
  8. At this point add the “Capù”, few pieces of sausage and if you would like some pieces of pork rinds. From now let it cook covered at low heat for about 50-60 minutes.
  9. Usually we serve it next to a good Polenta 🙂 Enjoy!





6 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for another delicious recipe! I love savoy cabbage and what a great way to use the leaves. Also adore Italian sausages so this dish is perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 and depending on the season you can use also chard leaves 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ishita says:

    I have not been to your area of Italy- Bergamo or Brescia but I have a friend who loves it there and visits often. Someday! The recipe sounds yumm!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a beautiful area, there are beautiful lakes (Garda, Iseo), there are beautiful mountains and parks (Adamello, Orobie and more), good wine regions (Franciacorta, very famous for sparkling wine) and a lot of history 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rowena says:

    We’ve been to a capu sagra in Bergamo a couple of times….they’re truly delicious little parcels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are some sagre in Val Seriana and Valcamonica dedicated to this traditional recipe 🙂


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