Go­ing to Tus­cany

If our story on Tus­cany has you in­spired, try these rustic dishes for an au­then­tic taste of this stun­ning Ital­ian re­gion at home. SERVES 6

Halliday - - Inside - By KATIE & GIAN­CARLO CALDESI

Four au­then­tic dishes for a taste of Tus­cany at home.

Swiss chard and egg soup.

Glo­ri­ous, spicy, colour­ful ac­qua­cotta is from south­ern Tus­cany in the Maremma area. This is our sim­ple ver­sion that we eat for break­fast, lunch and din­ner. The quan­tity of leaves is abun­dant and should change ac­cord­ing to the sea­son, so feel free to swap the Swiss chard or spinach for kale or cab­bage.

4 tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

1 red onion, peeled and halved root to tip, then finely sliced into half-moons

2 cel­ery stalks, finely sliced

10 basil leaves

1 litre warm chicken or veg­etable stock, or hot wa­ter

3 heaped tbsp to­mato puree

1kg Swiss chard or spinach leaves, not in­clud­ing stalks, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp dried chilli flakes

6 small slices thick crusty bread, toasted 1 gar­lic clove, peeled

6 eggs

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over a low heat. Add the onion, cel­ery, basil and a splash of the warm stock or wa­ter, and cook for around 15 min­utes, un­til the onions and cel­ery be­come soft and translu­cent.

Stir the to­mato puree into the re­main­ing stock and pour into the pan, then add the chopped chard or spinach, salt and chilli flakes. Stir through un­til the spinach wilts and the soup bub­bles. Re­duce the heat, loosely cover the pan and leave to cook for 30-40 min­utes, un­til the soup is well com­bined. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing and chilli as nec­es­sary. Re­move from the heat.

La­dle a layer of soup around 1cm high into the bot­tom of a wide saucepan or casse­role. Lightly rub the toast slices with the clove of gar­lic on one side and lay them into the pan, gar­lic-side up. Spoon the re­main­ing soup over the bread and crack the eggs on top. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat un­til the eggs have just set. Re­move from the heat and leave in a warm place for 5–10 min­utes so the bread can ab­sorb the liq­uid from the soup. Serve in warm bowls with one egg in each one.

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