We’ve all heard the expression, “Less is more.” When it comes to cooking, this is often true because sometimes too many different ingredients can ruin the overall flavor of a dish. Uncomplicated dishes made with simple ingredients are often the most delicious kinds. Zuppa alla pavese is a soup made from beef broth, eggs, butter, and day-old bread. Its origin dates back to the 1500s during the battle of Pavia, which took place in the city of the same name, located not far from Milan in Lombardy.
On February 25, 1525, a few hours before surrendering to the Spanish, Francis I, king of France, stopped by a little cottage a few miles away from the city and asked if someone could host him for lunch. The cook was preparing a typical vegetable soup, but thought that it might be too simple to serve a king, so she improvised a soup made from broth, eggs, bread, and cheese. King Francis ate this dish and enjoyed it so much that he called it a soup fit for a king. When he returned to France, he brought the recipe with him, naming it after the city of Pavia. The cottage where the soup was created still exists today and it can be seen from the train on the way from Milan to Pavia; it is located between a couple of rice fields.
Zuppa alla pavese is a simple soup that doesn’t take long to prepare. You can serve it as an appetizer or as a main course and it’s the perfect meal to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Since it is so easy to prepare, you can make it even when you’re tired or when you don’t have much time to cook. If this tasty soup was able to restore a king after battle, just think of what it can do for you after a hard day at work. There’s nothing like a nice hot bowl of soup to help you forget about your worries for a while. By Dana Knowles
To make a traditional zuppa alla pavese, just omit the first step with the vegetables, but make sure that the beef broth is boiling in order to cook the eggs.
1⁄4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
6 plum tomatoes, diced
4 slices crusty Italian bread
3⁄4 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
4 c. beef broth
1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, and tomatoes, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the tomatoes break down, about 15 to 20 minutes. 2. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil, then cook for 5 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, lightly toast the bread slices, and place them in the bottom of 4 bowls. Sprinkle with the pecorino and break 1 egg into each bowl. 4. Ladle the boiling broth into each bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4