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
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
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.