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Acquacotta Recipe - Cooked Water - A Tuscan Peasant Soup Recipe


Acquacotta literally means cooked water, and is one of the classic soups of the Tuscan Maremma. The dish is generally served as a one course meal, and in the past was eaten in the field by shepherds and stockmen -- peasant food, in short. As is the case with any regional dish, there are as many versions as there are cooks.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings Acquacotta


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • A six-inch (15 cm) stick of celery, a small carrot, and three small onions, minced together
  • 1/2 a small, crumbled hot pepper, or more, to taste
  • 2 pounds (1 k) beet greens or spinach, stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound (500 g) peeled, chopped ripe tomatoes (canned will do in a pinch)
  • Up to a pound (500 g) of vegetables such as peas, beans, bell peppers, artichoke hearts, or whatever else is in season
  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l) boiling water
  • 5 eggs, beaten in a bowl
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Toscano (pecorino Toscano is relatively mild - substitute Parmigiano, not pecorino romano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if the cheese is sharp)
  • Thinly sliced toasted Italian bread


Set a heavy bottomed pot on the fire. When it's hot, add the oil and the onion mixture; season the mixture with salt and the chili pepper. When the onions have turned translucent, add the greens. Cover and cook over low heat till the greens have wilted, then add the tomatoes and the other vegetables, if you're including them. Simmer for about twenty minutes, then add the boiling water. Check the seasoning and simmer for another twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and mix in the cheese, adding salt if necessary.

Line the bottoms of your soup bowls with thinly sliced toasted bread and spoon the beaten egg mixture over the bread. Bring the soup to the table, stir it well, and ladle it into the bowls, making sure that the hot soup flows over the egg, cooking it.

Serves six. A wine? A light red, for example a Morellino di Scansano.

This Acquacotta recipe is Tuscan. Here's one from the Marche, and another from Lazio.

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