Acquacotta - vegetable soup with kale and porcini mushrooms
Like vegetable soups? You'll love acquacotta!
1 good bowl of soup
1 hour, 5 minutes
Acqua cotta translates into English as the wonderfully weird “cooked water”. But fear not! This is not the Stone Soup of fairy tales. It is actually a light but satisfying one-bowl meal, full of delicious vegetables and topped with an egg. There are of course many versions of this simple dish. This one uses Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) and a couple of dried porcini mushrooms, and has a wonderful depth of flavour!
Small handful (5 or 6 strips) dried porcini mushrooms
2 large sticks celery (including leaves)
2 medium onions
1 small can (2 cups) peeled tomatoes
Small bunch Tuscan kale (or a few leaves of cabbage if you can’t find it)
1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock, warm
4 slices of day-old farmhouse bread, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper
Soak the porcini mushrooms in cold water, to cover.
Chop the celery stalks, celery leaves and onions (medium dice - around quarter-inch pieces).
Sweat the water out on a medium heat with a good swirl (2 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.
When the water has evaporated (5-7 minutes), add the tin of tomatoes, crushing them with your wooden spoon and the warm stock.
Take the kale off its stalks, wash and chop finely. Add to the soup.
Take any dirt off the mushrooms, chop finely and add to the soup. Strain the mushroom liquid and add too.
Cook on a medium heat for 40 minutes. Check for salt and adjust.
When you are ready to eat, place the toasted bread in the bottom of 4 bowls. Break 4 eggs into the simmering soup and cook for a minute or two. Serve on top of the toasted bread, with plenty of black pepper ground on top, and a swirl of raw olive oil.