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Tuscan Vegetable Soup (Acquacotta)


  • 1 large red onion or 1 leek , roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery or 1/2 celery root roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound kale , de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Half of a peperoncino or any hot red pepper , fresh or dried
  • 1/2 cup tomato pulp (seeded, juiced, and chopped if fresh or drained and diced if canned)
  • 3 cups simmering water
  • sea salt
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 2 slices rustic , country-style bread,lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Tuscan pecorino cheese


  1. Place the toasted bread in two soup bowls.
  2. Place the onion and celery in a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and stir to coat. Cook over a medium-low heat, or until the onion is translucent but not brown.
  3. Add Swiss chard (or porcinis, if using) and stir briefly to wilt.
  4. Add hot pepper, tomatoes, and simmering water.
  5. Season lightly with salt and cook over a low heat (barely a simmer) for 20 minutes, until vegetables are very soft.
  6. As vegetables are cooking, bring about an inch of water and a half teaspoon of salt to a boil in a deep skillet.
  7. At the end of the vegetables' cooking time, turn the skillet heat down to a gentle simmer.
  8. Add the parsley to the soup.
  9. Break the eggs into a small bowl, one at a time, and slide them into the simmering water. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the whites are set, but the yellow is still runny.
  10. When done, use a large slotted spoon to place one egg on each toast slice in bowls.
  11. Ladle broth and vegetables over each egg and top with a generous sprinkling of the cheese.