Zuppa imperiale

A good soup is only as good as its broth. Take a look at Filippo’s meat broth recipe to learn how to make your own. Zuppa imperiale is a simple but delicious soup made from a rich beef and chicken broth finished with cubes of baked semolina and Parmesan.

First published in 2016
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Zuppa imperiale is a classic Bolognese soup: fluffy semolina dough is baked, cut into small cubes and cooked in a fragrant meat stock. This recipe is a good option for children and is traditionally eaten at Easter family gatherings in Italy.

The origins of zuppa imperiale (Emperor’s soup) can be traced back to Krinofel – an Austrian soup prepared with similar ingredients, but with a different texture. It is said to have first been imported to Emilia-Romagna by Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, the first wife of the Emperor Napoleon I.

Preparing zuppa imperiale is fast and easy. To save time you can bake and dice the tasty semolina dough in advance, and quickly boil it just before serving.




Zuppa imperiale

  • 4 eggs
  • 60g of semolina
  • 60g of grated Parmesan
  • 40g of unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of white pepper
  • 4 pinches of salt
  • 1.5l beef stock, see Filippo's recipe for meat broth


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Begin by making the semolina dough. Melt the butter in a small pan over a very low heat. Once melted, pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside to reach room temperature
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the salt, white pepper, ground nutmeg and Parmesan. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork until all the ingredients are fully combined
Stir in the melted butter and semolina flour and beat again until fully combined
Pour the semolina mixture into a casserole dish lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes
Towards the end of cooking, preheat a grill. Remove the semolina from the oven and finish under the grill until golden
Allow the semolina to reach room temperature, then cut into small cubes
Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook the semolina cubes for 2–3 minutes then serve immediately

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Born and raised in Bologna, Filippo is a food blogger and supper club host with a passion for traditional Italian dishes.

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