The Maremma, the coastal region of Tuscany that extends from Livorno to the border between Tuscany and Lazio, is famous for its livestock, beaches and Acquacotta, literally cooked water. The dish is generally served as a one course meal, and in the past was eaten in the field by shepherds and stockmen. As is the case with any regional dish, there are as many versions as there are cooks. This one comes from my Italian friend Francesca.
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped into very small pieces
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped into small slices
- 2 pounds (1 kilo) beet greens or spinach, stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped
- 1 pound (500 grams) peeled, chopped ripe tomatoes (canned will do in a pinch)
- 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) boiling water
- salt to taste
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- slices of toasted Italian bread
- Warm up the oil in a pot, add the onions, celery, carrot and bell pepper and cook until onions are translucent. Add the greens and cook cook over low heat until the greens have wilted.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer for about twenty minutes, then add the boiling water. Check the seasoning, and simmer for another twenty minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the eggs and cheese together. Line the bottoms of your 6 soup bowls with thinly sliced toasted bread and spoon the beaten egg mixture over the bread. Stir the soup well and ladle it into the bowls.