Acquacotta (Tomato and Bread Soup)

Acquacotta is an Italian tomato soup that is thickened using an individual piece of toasted bread in each serving bowl and accented with an egg that is poached in the soup before serving. Other than mastering the art of poaching the eggs in the soup this is a very simple dish to prepare.

If you are uncomfortable with poaching the egg in the soup, either poach the eggs separately in water or use an over-easy fried egg.

This soup is one of many great ways to use the abundance of those summer tomatoes in your garden.



Serves 4

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ripe plum tomatoes, pulp and stem end removed then chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
Herb Salt (see 8.20.14 Ample Bites post)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large fresh eggs
4 slices firm bread, toasted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the onion and celery in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Season with a couple pinches of Herb Salt and black pepper. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, with any accumulated juice, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 more minutes.

Add the broth and re-season with Herb Salt and black pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes more.

Break one of the eggs into a ladle, warm the egg in the ladle for a few seconds before gently slipping it into the simmering soup. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggs are just set, about 3 minutes.

Place a slice of the toasted bread in each serving bowl. Sprinkle the bread with cheese. Spoon a poached egg onto each bread slice. Add more cheese and the basil to each bowl. Ladle the soup into each bowl around the bread slice and serve immediately.

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