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Acquacotta recipe

First courses

Acquacotta - literally "cooked water" - is one of those traditional dishes that arise from poverty and imagination, from the lack of sophisticated ingredients and from the desire to experiment. A simple mix of fresh ingredients that has changed through centuries but has always remained a synonym of simplicity.  

The origins of this soup are Etruscan, but more specifically its tradition can be traced to Maremma area. Rigorously prepared in an iron cauldron, acquacotta was the main dish for charcoal burners, shepherds and herdsmen who found themselves traveling through this wild and harsh land with few ingredients available. So, while the animals were grazing, they looked for herbs to boil them and then add them to the sautéed bacon or lard, onion and other seasonal herbs. The recipe necessarily changed with the climate and depending on the spontaneous plants collected in the fields or pastures, as well as with the profession practiced: here we find a sprinkling of cheese in the cheesemaker's recipe, or some mushrooms in the charcoal burner's, or cod in the farmer's. Lastly, a few slices of toasted bread were added.

Its most common version is made using water, onions, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, celery, carrot, toasted homemade bread, grated pecorino cheese and eggs. The secret to the dish is long cooking which allows the flavors to mix and the vegetables to soften.


  • 5 medium sized red onions
  • 800 g peeled tomatoes
  • 3 celery stalks
  • aromatic herbs (marjoram, basil, etc.)
  • 4 eggs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices of Tuscan bread
  • saly
  • grated seasoned pecorino


Slice the cleaned onions and celery - without the tough threads.

Clean the tomatoes and cut them into cubes.

Leave to flavor for a few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and some water.

Leave to cook slowly for a couple of hours, adding water if necessary, but without exaggerating, to obtain the consistency of a soup that is not too liquid.

Once the necessary time has passed, toast the bread slices in the oven and place one or two on the bottom of each plate.

Pour the soup into tha plates (or bowls) and crack an egg on the top of each one, being careful not to break the yolk.

Complete with grated pecorino and a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil.

Bring to the table immediately.


Cooking the onions for a long time is very important because it makes them very soft and almost caramelised, giving the soup a sweetness that balances with the acidity of the tomatoes.