This traditional Tuscan peasant soup, Acquacotta, was eaten by farmers to sustain them during the long farming hours until dinner time. Literally translated is called “Cooked Water". Day old bread or even stale bread was a common accompaniment. Anything to soak up the simmered flavors.
Various herbs were also added, thyme and parsley being the most common but rosemary and oregano were also used. I personally like adding some type of protein other than the poached egg described in this recipe.
Sausages like chorizo or even chicken can add a lot to this soup. Somethings to keep in mind when preparing Acquacotta is to cook it slowly on low heat.
cooking this soup on high heat and constantly stirring will cause the beans to break down turning your soup into something that looks like re-fried beans. You don’t want that. Please cook slow and low.
Katherine's Take: Rustic dishes are just divine. Acquacotta is the sort of soup that you curl up with on the couch, on rainy afternoon, when it's just you and Netflix. You can have more than one serving and not feel an ounce of guilt. Go ahead, tear another piece of Ciabatta.
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Suggestions and Alternatives
- You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by swapping out the chicken stock for vegetable, Pecorino cheese for a soy-based version and not including the egg.
- Any crusty bread will do. While ciabatta is the classic choice, a baguette is just as good, if not better.
- Navy or white beans work in a pinch instead of buying cannellini beans.
- I personally like toasting my ciabatta lightly with butter then rubbing it with a clove of fresh garlic.
Acquacotta (Traditional Tuscan Soup)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil Extra Virgin
- 3 stalks celery sticks 1 inch Slice
- 2 medium carrots 1 inch Slice
- 1 small red onion Chopped
- 2 cloves garlic Minced
- 3 sprigs thyme Chopped
- 5 large plum tomatoes Chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley Chopped
- 8 slices Ciabatta Bread Day Old
- 4 whole eggs Poached
- 1/2 cup Cannellini beans Can
- 1/4 cup arugula Chopped
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese Quality
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 quarts chicken stock (no sodium)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Instructions for Acquacotta
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently saute the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and tomato paste for 6 minutes until softened. Add chicken stock and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes until they begin to break down, then pour in more chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Gently add cannellini beans and let it simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.
- In a separate large saucepan add 4 quarts water, 1 tbs. salt, and 3 tbs. white vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Stir water to create a vortex and gently crack 1 egg at a time to the center. The vinegar will bind the egg white to the egg yolk. After 5 minutes cooking gently scoop out eggs with a large slotted spoon and submerge in ice bath for 5 minutes.
- Add chopped parsley, chopped arugula, salt and black pepper to the soup, and mix in the torn day old ciabatta bread.
- Divide the soup between 4 bowls and place poached egg on top of each. Serve scattered with extra thyme.