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Aquacotta - Tuscan Peasant Soup with Cabbage and Beans

submitted by sarahjane on Jan-22-06
(this recipe is good for dinner)
(this recipe is suitable for vegetarians)
servings: (not specified)

Ah, Cucina Povera!  So resourceful, so nourishing, so tasty, so CHEAP! 

This is adapted liberally from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

4 cups thickly sliced onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
6 cups Savoy cabbage, shredded very fine
1 cup chopped tomato
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1 bouillon cube
1 can white beans
Ground black pepper
12 thin slices stale French or Italian bread
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or pecorino) cheese

In a very large saucepan, cook onion, 1/8 cup olive oil and salt on medium until onion wilts.
Add carrots, cook 2-3 minutes.
Add cabbage, cook 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato and basil
Add bouillon cube and enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat.
Cover tightly and simmer for at least 2 and possibly 3 hours. 
Add beans. Stir, taste and correct for salt and pepper. 

(you may prepare the soup up to this point a day or two in advance).

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line the bottom of a baking dish with sliced stale bread.  Pour soup over bread.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake 30 minutes or until completely heated through.

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