Contrary to popular translation, the Italian word “zuppa” doesn’t really mean “soup.” The term specifically refers to a category of dishes with a foundation of bread (preferably on the stale side) soaked in broth. There are many different kinds of zuppe, but Zuppa Pavese is one of the simplest and easiest to make. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, this dish is better than the sum of its parts!
Ingredients are key with extremely simple dishes like Zuppa Pavese. Try to find an excellent beef broth or, better yet, make your own. The bread makes a big difference: homemade is definitely best but otherwise find a simple, crusty bread with as few ingredients as possible. This dish was invented to reuse stale bread, so we recommend using bread that is two or three days old.
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ZUPPA PAVESE RECIPE
Makes: 1 serving, but the ingredients below easily scale up for more
Cook Time: 20 minutes
For this recipe, you will need:
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
2 to 3 slices of semi-stale bread (see above)
1 ½ cups (240 ml) beef broth
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
Fresh black pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for topping
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, lay the bread slices flat in the pan and toast them, flipping occasionally, until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place the slices (you can cut them into smaller pieces, if necessary) in the bottom of a soup bowl.
Heat the broth in a saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium/low heat. When the oil is hot, crack the egg into the pan. Sprinkle it lightly with salt and pepper and let it fry until the white is solid but the yolk remains runny.
Ladle the hot broth into the bowl and carefully slide the egg on top of the bread with a spatula. Top the egg with a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese. Be sure to give the bread a minute or two to soak up the broth before eating.