Soup in the Pavian Style
Notes and Thought Process
Modern zuppa alla pavese is a clear broth soup with egg and cheesy toast. I thought it would be interesting to develop a recipe for a vegetable soup (minestrone) that an Italian farmwife in the 1500s might have been able to make in early spring, since that is the legend that the soup and first course are based on. A lot of modern minestrone recipes have New World vegetables -potatoes, squash, tomatoes – so I did a little thinking about how to create a balanced soup without them. Turnips were popular for root/starchy veg in this era, peas and spinach were widely available, and chickpeas had been known since the days of the Roman empire. Similarly, a lot of modern recipes will add paprika or red pepper – here we focused on a few spices that would be available and delicious.
Traditionally you serve the soup boiling hot and crack an egg into it which cooks the egg. This is difficult to do reliably for a feast hall’s worth of people, so we made you soft-boiled eggs instead using a sous vide machine. Serving at home, you are welcome to crack your eggs into your boiling soup and enjoy!
This recipe about fills a 3 gallon stock pot and serves 24. Feel free to reduce for a weeknight supper.
- olive oil 6 tbsp
- Onions 5 medium / 2.5 lbs
- Celery 1 bunch
- Turnips 1 pound
- Chick peas 1 big can (28 oz)
- Spinach (frozen, chopped) 1 pound
- Sweet peas (frozen) 1 pound
- Vegetable stock 3 quarts
- Water 1.5 quarts
- garlic powder 2 tbsp
- oregano (dried) 2 tbsp
- salt 1 tsp
- ground black pepper 1tsp
- basil (dried) 2 tbsp
- Bloom granulated garlic in some of the oil in a small pan to bring out the flavor
- Chop onions and celery (rough)
- Add onions, olive oil and salt to stock pot and cook until translucent
- Add celery and brown garlic to onions
- Skin and chop turnips (1″ chunks)
- Add turnips and cook until tender
- Add stock, water, oregano, basil, pepper and bring to a boil
- Add peas & spinach, boil 6 minutes
- Add chick peas & chick pea water
- Simmer, check spicing
Ingredients for add-ins:
- sliced Italian loaf
- parmesan cheese (shredded)
- If you want cheesy toast, once you add your chick peas to the soup, turn the oven on BROIL.
- Lay out your slices of bread on a pan and generously sprinkle with parmesan.
- Place in oven (tray near the top) and broil for 2 minutes.
- Remove and serve with soup.