Acquacotta (Tuscan Soup)
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 medium carrots, scraped
2 large celery stalks
1 medium red onion, cleaned
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes, or 1 1/2 pounds canned tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste, imported Italian
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 qts. cold water
2 extra large eggs
8 Tabl. freshly grated Parmigiano
2 cups croutons, small bread pieces fried in olive oil, or 8
slices Tuscan bread, toasted
Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of lukewarm water for 1/2 hour. Drain
and be sure that no sand remains attached to the stems. Finely
chop carrots, celery, onion, garlic and the soaked mushrooms all
together on a board. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole over medium
heat. When the oil is warm, add the chopped ingredients and saute
for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed.
Meanwhile, pass the tomatoes through a food mill, using the disc
with the smallest holes, into a small bowl. Add the strained
tomatoes along with the tomato paste, then salt, pepper, and red
pepper flakes. Let simmer for 15 minutes, mixing every so often.
Add the cold water, mix very well, and when the broth returns to
a boil, let simmer for 55 minutes.
Place the two eggs in a crockery or china soup tureen and mix them
very well with the Parmigiano. When the soup is ready, ladle it
into the tureen, and using a wooden spoon, mix each addition very
well with the egg-cheese combination, in order to avoid curdling.
When the both is very smooth and the eggs completely amalgamated,
add the croutons and serve immediately. If using bread slices
instead, place a slice in each bowl and ladle the broth over it.