Acquacotta (Vegetable egg soup)

/5

PRESENTATION

Recipe by
Valeria Piccini

A dish is not just a list of ingredients, how to prepare them and cooking times. Sometimes a dish is a tale, a story, a memory. And it becomes a recipe that restores, warms hearts, and refreshes souls. This is the case of acquacotta, the ancient soup of Tuscan tradition that speaks of farmers, charcoal burners, shepherds and woodcutters of the Maremma at a time when hunger made people more creative, and soups were the only meal that could be afforded after one's hard work. It was a lucky dish that contained what was available in the season: tomatoes, celery, onions, wild herbs, local cheese for flavor and a nice egg to give substance, added to the soup as soon as it was made to cook in the hot broth... it is a simple soup, but at the same time rich in nutrients, such as farmer's soup or Pavia soup, typical of another region of Italy. A few slices of stale toasted bread complete the dish and make it even richer. Acquacotta, cooked for Giallozafferano by Valeria Piccini, is simply a good, genuine, and tasty dish that keeps the rustic and sincere flavors of the past alive.

INGREDIENTS

Yellow onions 1.5 lbs (700 g)
Celery 7 oz (200 g)
Peeled tomatoes 1.8 lbs (800 g)
Extra virgin olive oil ½ cup (120 g)
Water 1.6 cups (200 g)
Vegetable broth 2 cups (500 g)
Fine salt to taste
Basil to taste
Eggs 4
For plating
Tuscan bread 4 slices - stale
Pecorino cheese 3 ½ tbsp (50 g)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Basil to taste
Preparation

How to prepare Acquacotta (Vegetable egg soup)

To prepare the aquacotta, first prepare the vegetable broth and keep it warm. Start by peeling the onions 1, then cut them in half 2 and slice them thinly 3

Transfer them to a bowl and move to the celery. First wash it well, then cut the stalks 4 and leaves 5 into fairly thin slices. Pour the oil into a pan 6,

put over heat and add the onions and celery 7. Add water 8 and salt 9

Mix with a wooden ladle 10 and cook until the water has completely evaporated. Then add the peeled tomatoes 11 and crush them gently with the ladle 12.

Mix everything 13, add the hot vegetable broth 14, stir again and cook for about 40 minutes, possibly covering with a lid 15 and stirring occasionally. 

When the oil has surfaced, add some basil leaves and the eggs by breaking them directly into the pan 16. Arrange them distanced from each other. Add salt 17 and cover with a lid 18

Leave the eggs to cook for about 4-5 minutes 19. Meanwhile, crumble a thin slice of stale Tuscan bread in each cocotte bowl. You can crumble it with your hands and arrange it to line the bottom 20. Add grated pecorino cheese on top 21

and add the soup with the ladle, making sure to take one egg for each cocotte 22. Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a basil leaf 23 and serve 24.  

Storage

Aquacotta can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. We recommend adding the eggs only at the last minute. 

Tips

You will not need to remove the celery filaments: the long cooking time softens them, so they will not affect the finished dish. 

Adding water to the vegetables will not result in a stir-fry. The onion will lose its tanginess and will be more digestible, but the flavor will remain intact. 

If you prefer, you can add a pinch of chili pepper, after adding water when cooking the celery and onions. 

When the season allows, instead of peeled tomatoes you can use ripe tomatoes blanched in boiling water and stripped of their skin.