It simply doesn’t get more down to earth than aquacotta, a quintessential Tuscan peasant dish originating in the village of Maremma. This one holds down a frequent spot on the Ditalia meal rotation, as it is an incredibly easy and delicious way to use up our leftover ingredients!
The origins of Acquacotta are immortalized in the Tuscan fairy tale "La Zuppa di Pietra"
Legend has it that acquacotta was the brainchild of Maremma’s nomadic herdsmen, whose itinerant travels through the countryside often left them with low -- and stale -- rations. In a typical display of ingenuity, the herdsmen would build a fire and cook their aging bread into a flavorful and hearty stew.
Today’s acqucotta still pays homage to the original dish, while offering more robust and bold flavor. Our recipe takes a little liberty with the traditional acquacotta, adding in delicious yolk-y egg and pecorino for a truly sumptuous experience.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 stalks of celery
- 2 onions
- 500 g of canned peeled tomatoes
- hot chilli pepper
- 8 slices of stale bread
- 4 eggs
- pecorino cheese, grated
- Start by peeling the onions, then wash the celery and dice the vegetables. Mash roughly the peeled tomatoes with a fork.
- In a saucepan or in a large cast iron pot sauté a clove of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed, with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then add the diced vegetables, the chili pepper, the peeled tomatoes and a good pinch of salt.
- Let cook for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add 2 liters of hot water. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours and a half.
- When the soup is almost ready toast the bread slices, rub them with a clove of garlic for a kick of flavor. Tear toast into pieces, distributing the bread at the bottom of 4 soup bowls.
- Shell the eggs in the pot where the soup is still simmering, taking care not to break the yolk: as soon as the egg whites are firm, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep them warm in a dish.
- Distribute the soup into the soup bowls over the bread slices, put an egg in the center of each bowl and season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Top with a generous sprinkling of grated pecorino romano cheese and serve hot.