Mar 25, 2010

Zuppa Pavese recipe

According to tradition this dish was born in 1525, on the day King François I de Valois was defeated by Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire during the Battle of Pavia.
Zuppa Pavese recipe

The king pronounced the historical phrase "Everything is lost but honor." According to legend, there was at least one other thing His Majesty hadn’t lost––his appetite.

He stormed the Pavese countryside, famished, in search of something to eat. Finally he arrived at a farm called Cascina Repentita, where a peasant woman was brewing a soup. The king told her who he was and that he was very hungry.

The woman placed a piece of old bread and some cheese in a bowl, covered it all with broth and then, thinking that this food was perhaps not noble enough for a king––even a defeated one––she went to the henhouse, picked up two eggs and broke them into his soup bowl.

After eating the peasant woman's Zuppa Pavese King François judged it "fit for kings," and upon his return to France had it included in the court's royal menu. How's that for an endorsement?

Ingredients for 6 serving:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
Italian style bread, cut in six 1-inch slices
6 cups rich chicken or beef broth
6 free-range eggs
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano, plus more on the table

Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet and sauté the bread browning it on both sides, then remove and place on paper towels.

Meanwhile bring the broth to a vivacious simmer and keep it there.

Heat individual soup dishes or bowls in the oven, place a slice of bread in each bowl, and crack an egg onto each slice of bread, being very careful not to break the yolk.

Dust with Parmigiano, salt and pepper to taste; once all eggs are placed on the toast, carefully ladle the very hot broth in the bowls (not directly over the yolks, or they'll break). The heat of the stock will cook the eggs. 

Zuppa Pavese recipe

If the eggs are not cooked to your taste, place bowls in a hot oven for a minute or two. 

What wine to pour with this dish? Pinot Nero dell'Oltrepò Pavese, of course.


  1. Ah, simple, nourishing, with ingredients at hand! Magic.

    The story of the famished king, just the right condiment!

  2. Sweet greetings from Frog Hollow Farm!! This is a wonderful recipe, so rustic and satisfying. I love all of your ideas and recipes Eleonora! Ciao, bella!

  3. intriguing...i have never tried this but it sounds lovely...

  4. Love the fact that Zuppa Pavese has a day.

    This recipe fit right into my thinking today. My neighbors are away on vacation, but left their chickens--who are laying generously--to my care.

    My husband is also away, and I've been reading Deborah Madison's 'What We Eat When We Eat Alone', which is full of dishes like this one.

  5. Very interesting post - the dish looks amazing and kind of comfort food-y too! I looove eggs but would probably pop it in the oven for a few minutes to cook them a little more - delicious! Thanks for sharing:)

  6. I've recently begun having eggs again after going off them a while ago for some mysterious reason (I just woke one day and couldn't face them at all). I've been looking for unusual recipes to try - i might look for very low fat butter - is there such a thing? - and try it out.

  7. Thank you all for leaving your comments!

    Rosaria, glad you enjoyed the story behind the soup.

    FHFG, thank you for your presence here!

    Brian, try it and tell me how it was for you.

    Giovanna, hens, recipe books and solitude: sounds like the perfect setting for some heartwarming zuppa!

    Stephanie, egg timing is such a personal thing, I like that this recipe can fit everybody's taste.

    FF, skip the butter altogether and only use the olive oil!

    spacedlaw, thank you for coming.

  8. Very interesting piece of work, and food as well! good job. nice post :)

  9. Thanks Amy for stopping by and leaving your kind comment! Ciao

  10. What a wonderful-looking dish! This is a definite to-do.


  11. Ciao Sandy and Merisina,
    thanks for your kudos. If you do try making this scrumptious dish, please relay the results back to me, OK?


  12. I like that dish! I would love to break that egg~~

  13. Ciao Chuck, hadn't seen you around here in a while. How's it cookin'? :)

  14. this sounds delicious!! i will absolutely try it! thanks!