Our last gourmet boxes were sent out for the holidays- now we'd like to share with you a wintery recipe for a famous Tuscan soup to keep you warm until our Valentine's themed food lover's box is ready! This recipe includes dried porcini which were included in the Holiday gourmet boxes- an authentic Tuscan recipe idea for any leftover porcini you may have!
Curious Appetite's food club is a curated box of gourmet ingredients like Tuscan olive oil, truffle goodies, balsamic vinegar, cheeses, compotes and more from the city's highest quality markets.
The Valentine's box will includes staples like new Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, truffle salt, honey and cheese but the variations include drunken sheep's milk semi-aged pecorino, dried pici pasta, spiced chili compote for cheeses and artisan Tuscan-made chocolates!
Until then, stay warm with this Tuscan Acquacotta Soup developed by our house writer based in Tuscany's South (La Maremma) Elisa Scarton Detti
Acquacotta con funghi porcini (bread and tomato soup with porcini mushrooms)
Ingredients (serves 4)
20g dried porcini
2 red onions, diced
5 ripe tomatoes OR 1 tin/jarred of 400gr whole tomatoes, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
4 slices of ciabatta OR Tuscan bread, toasted
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced in half
Pecorino cheese, to serve
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Soak porcini in 500ml lukewarm water for 30 minutes, then strain, reserving
liquid, rinse, roughly chop and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a casserole dish. Add the carrot, celery, onion and
sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add porcini and cook until soft (5
minutes). Add the tomatoes, the reserved porcini water and a pinch of salt.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are soft (20 minutes,
adding extra water if soup becomes to thick).
Meanwhile, fill another pan with a shallow layer of water. Bring to the boil with a
pinch of salt. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Break eggs into a bowl and slide
them into the water one at a time. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the whites are
set and opaque. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.
To serve, rub one side of the toasted ciabatta with the halved garlic clove, then
place in each serving bowl. Pour the vegetable stew over it and top with the
poached egg. Grate over a generous amount of pecorino cheese and drizzle with
extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle over parsley and serve.
Curiosity about this dish
Acquacotta is one of the Southern Tuscany's most iconic dishes. Translated, it means "cooked water" - a nod to the recipe's humble roots. When the local farmers were too busy to head home for lunch, they would bring a pail full of seasonal vegetables, carrots, onions, cabbage, whatever they grew themselves, to the fields. At lunchtime, they would light a fire, tumble the chopped vegetables into a pot and add enough water to cook. With a handful of stale bread at the bottom of the bowl, they would have a modest, but delicious soup in no time!
This version is taken from the hilly provinces of the region, where colder temperatures weren't great for growing leafy greens, but perfect for the porcini mushrooms that were foraged locally and added to the soup.