Simple soup recipes using only a few ingredients

For a cook, it is less dispiriting to see grocery store shelves void of toilet paper than to see shelves in a nearby aisle bare of cans of soup.

A few days ago, a fellow cook wrote a note to say, “It’s so easy and much tastier to make soup at home, and there don’t seem to be any lack of broth, stock, vegetables, herbs and spices on store shelves.”

If grocers lacked even those things — and well they might these days — no better example exists of a cooking-from-the-pantry food than a simple soup.

After all, the chief ingredient comes from the kitchen tap.

Today’s recipes, both very simple, use only a few ingredients (with simple substitutes allowed). Both also are quite different and, thus, might appeal to varying tastes or diets.

The first is a famed Italian soup from the Lombardy region of the north and one of its principal cities, Pavia. The legend goes that during the Battle of Pavia in 1525, the French king Francois I, held prisoner by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, was fed a soup of stale bread over which was poured hot broth. The peasant girl who brought it to him enriched the soup with a raw egg. In its course from the kitchen to the cell, the steaming liquid cooked the egg to a soft poach. How regal.