Morzeddhu alla Catanzarisi: A Recipe for Morzello


Morzello is a traditional Catanzaresi dish that is served in many local restaurants throughout the area but the best, I’ve heard, is when it is homemade.

According to legend, Morzello, or morzeddhu in dialect, was created when an impoverished mother, widowed and alone, was forced to accept odd jobs to support her hungry children. On Christmas Eve, she was asked to clean a slaughterhouse and dispose of the wastes in the nearby Fiumarella.

Worried about what she would serve her hungry children for Christmas dinner the following day, she saved the disposed meat, cleaned it and prepared a meat soup. And morzello was born …

The Internet is desperately lacking for an English-language recipe for Catanzaro’s most famous dish. So without further fanfare, I present to you …

Morzeddhu alla Catanzarisi

>> 1 pound tripe
>> 1 pound (total) spleen, lung and esophagus
>> 4 cups tomato sauce
>> 1 cup water
>> 1/2 sliced red onion
>> 2-3 fresh peppers
>> 2 tablespoons beef bouillon
>> 3 bay leaves
>> Dash of salt and oregano
>> Olive oil
>> 1 glass of red wine


1. Wash and slice the tripe and cube the meat.

2. Boil the meat (spleen, lung, esophagus).

3. After 15 minutes add the tripe and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

4. Add olive oil, onion, bay leaves, oregano and one fresh pepper.

5. Cook and let the water evaporate.

6. Add tomato sauce, bouillon cubes and just enough hot water to cover the meat.

7. Cook for one hour then add more fresh pepper and wine.

8. Continue adding hot water as needed, for 30 minutes.

9. At the end add salt, oregano, a dash of olive oil and more pepper.

10. Serve with pita bread.

11 Responses
  1. Irish Jen

    I believe this is fab for the locals. My better half loves when his Zia cooks this. Although been vegetarian his Zia will always have to cook this one for him!!!!!!
    Can you even be in the same room, Jenny? I had a hard time, seriously!!

  2. maryann

    We have this with tripe only..and it’s quite good!
    I think my dad would eat, but as for the rest of us … I don’t think so!
    maryann’s last blog post..Regina Cookies

  3. j

    WOW I haven’t even heard of morzeddhu since my grandmother died. She made this and served it in thick sandwich buns. I loved it, but of course I was a little kid and had no idea what was in it. I don’t think I could even get the ingredients for it around here anymore.
    You could use tripe without the “extra” stuff?!? Maybe instead you should come to Calabria and we can show you where the best restaurants are. Not that I’d know personally, per se….

  4. Dawn


    Ciao bella! First and foremost being the biggest procrastinator that has ever lived. I want to congratulate you and Peppe on your 1 year anniversary and here’s to another 100 years.:-) By the way that photo of you two is so beautiful.That dress is still really stunning.

    Second,as for the Morzeddhu,I can stand it and the smell alone when Domenico’s mother cooks it makes me ill.I can’t stand to look at it, smell it, and refuse to enter the house when I even smell of faint trace of it. I’ve only tried it once and it took the help of the good Lord himself to not(regurgitate)it.,-) I won’t even let Domenico cook it at home. He goes to his mom or sister’s when he wants a fix of innards because there are some things even I just won’t do.:-/
    Thanks, “Down.” 😉 I didn’t post the picture P took of me when I walked in and smelled it OR did I post the picture of the wall of bread I put between us so I wouldn’t have to look at it! ha ha

  5. Jean

    The ego part of me wants to be gourmetish and open-minded. My more honest self says: no way, baby! Why, I don’t know. I eat liver. I eat “giblets,” as we so nicely call those chicken bits. But this soup… no. I’m just glad I know its name, so I won’t ever accidentally eat it! “D
    Haha!! Be careful if you come to southern Italy. It might be in dialect, remember!!

  6. Cherrye, thanks for posting. I will definately be on the look out the next time in that area so I know not to order it.

    I accidentally order tripe soup in Assisi and asked the waiter remove it from my table once I figured out what it was (no tasting involed). He was very rude and wouldn’t until I said I’d pay for it. I now try to be careful what I order unless I’m 100% sure what the ingredients are.

    I’m not an adventurous eater.
    Eek. I’m not adventurous either. I have the weakest stomach this side of the Atlantic!
    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog post..checking the ads

  7. […] We are talking, of course, about peperoncini (chili peppers).  These beautifully colored deep red peppers are an important part of Calabrian cuisine which is known for its simplicity, explosion of flavor and spicy kick.  In the past, we’ve posted recipes on the blog for Pasta, Aglio, Olio and Peperoncino , Pasta con ‘Nduja (a peppery spreadable sausage made using peperoncini) and a traditional dish from Catanzaro called Morzello. […]

Leave a Reply