Bazzoffia soup or soup of love is a traditional dish of the area between Priverno and Sezze, in what was once the Historical Ciociaria and corresponded to the Provinces of Campagna and Marittima of the Papal States.
It was a dish for the very poor that combined the last vegetables of the winter with the first of the spring and was used to recycle the stale bread that remained hard and uneaten. Obviously, the artichokes of Sezze were inevitable and they are a true excellent vegetable of the area.
It was a dish that today we would call a “single course” where there was also included egg and pecorino cheese with milk from the sheep of the Lepini Mountains. Practically it gave a real hit of energy that could serve to awaken the bodies after the winter cold and prepare them for the labours of the work in the fields in spring. But not only that …
The women prepared the soup of love and offered it to men returning from the countryside, the completeness of the dish gave men the right boost and hence “love soup”.
Today it is more difficult to find a man to return home after working the earth, or to find stale bread in the kitchen cupboard (the cabinet where the bread was kept), so I made a more contemporary version of it.
Recipe of Bazzoffia Soup
I start with the artichokes and I cut them fine. Then I slice a spring onion and put it in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, a quick cook and immediately I add the cut artichokes to flavour everything together slightly. To this I then add chard, the one with small leaves, and some lettuce leaves and finally some peas and I leave everything to flavour together.
Then I add water to create the soup and partially cover the pan, leaving it to simmer for an hour.
In the meantime I prepared some croutons of bread, sautéing them in a pan with very little oil and flavour with oregano.
I also prepare a poached egg which we will lay on the soup. The preparation of the egg is always delicate: we take a saucepan with water and boil it slightly adding vinegar. With a spoon we create a whirlpool in the water and pour in an egg which in a couple of minutes will create a white shirt around its yolk.
After the cooking time for the vegetables, pour the soup into a bowl, lay the egg on top, put the croutons and a pinch of pepper and finally we serve our soup of love.
In the glass I pour a Pinot Grigio Friulano, perfect!