copyright,2009, Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking
It is kind of ironic that a nice warm soup comes from a place that seems to always be so sunny..yes there is cold weather in Tuscany (this year we did get snow) or maybe it is just the atmosphere that makes it seem so sunny.
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school right outside of Orvieto is on the outskirts of Tuscany..and we made a stop there for some aquacotta..perfect for this time of the year..here is a recipe and info on one of my favorite soups..
Although mainly thought of for its famous pastas and sauces, Italian cookery is well-rounded including meals of all types for all times of the day. One such lesser known famous food from Italy is acquacotta, or “cooked water”. The amount of different recipes for the soup is innumerable, but the most famous style comes from the Maremma region in Tuscany. It is interesting to see how both the recipe and the soup have changed in the same way over the years.
The Maremma region lies on the western coast of Italy and consists of five areas. In the past, it was populated mostly by farmers, shepherds, and cattle breeders – all of whom contributed to the area’s distinct acquacotta recipe. Today, however, the area is a budding tourist destination because of its scenic landscapes, ancient villages, and, conversely, elite boating ports.
The history of acquacotta goes back a long way. It is a form of stone soup that was shared amongst the farmers and shepherds of the hilly, coastal region. Tradition has it that the eaters would each bring something to put in the soup. This quality makes acquacotta unique in that it is one of the few soups not made from stock, a fact that explains the soup’s name. Acquacotta is a rustic, healthy soup that started among peasant farmers and is now offered in some very high class restaurants.
So, like the region its most famous version is from, acquacotta has evolved over the years, but has maintained its originality.
Acquacotta from Maremma
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pound spinach, torn into big pieces, with thick stems discarded
1 10 oz. can tomatoes, seeds squeezed out
6 cups water
8 eggs (two for thickening, six for poaching)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
6 thick slices of coarse, dense, grilled bread
Heat the oil in a casserole dish large enough to accommodate poaching the eggs later on. Sauté the celery, onion, over low heat until the onion is clear. Stir in the spinach until it wilts.
Stir in the tomatoes and let them cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in six cups of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour.
When ready to serve, beat two eggs and the Parmesan cheese together, then stir into the soup. Return soup to a boil over medium heat.
Break each of the remaining six eggs into the soup on spots where the soup is bubbling. Simmer gently for 3 minutes or until eggs are poached.
Serve each egg on a piece of the grilled bread with soup ladled on top.
*If you will be in the Jenkintown,Pa area on Sunday, Febraury 8th come out to my book signing of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and the The Basic Art of Italian Cooking school Valentine’s Day dinner Italian style cooking class. The book signing is at 2, class is at 3PM.Spaces are limited, email us at email@example.com to register and for more info.
For more great recipes get your copy of the bestselling book at http://www.marialiberati.com or at one of my book signings this month at a Whole Foods Supermarket in Jenkintown, PA, Marlton, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Princeton, NJ.
The Basic Art of Cooking by Maria Liberati tm will be having cooking classes for the month of February at various Whole Foods Markets in the PA/NJ Area. Will be sharing recipes fro mboth the book and the cooking school in Italy.
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm cooking school in Orvieto Italy is havign a special taste and tour of Italy that will include cooking classes, vineyard tours, sightseeing of soem of the medivel towns in and around and best of all you will be staying in either the villa La Veranda nestled in the hills of Umbria or the Castello of Sismano suites or Borgo Fontanile. Tour will be September 13-19th, 2009. Spaces are limited,so email us at events@marialiberati for more info nd to register..