Acquacotta literally means cooked water, and the name implies that it used to be a soup with very few ingredients. The story goes that sometimes some pebbles were cooked in the water, to give it some flavour, hence the old name for this soup in Italian: la zuppa di pietra, or “stonesoup”.
These days quite some extra ingredients go into the soup, very often porcini mushrooms, and a few eggs. In this recipe, the water has even been replaced by stock.
- 400 gram porcini mushrooms (boletus edulis)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leafed parsley or sage (in Toscana you would pick some mentuccia – Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi)
- 1 liter home made beef stock (you can add some dried porcini mushrooms to intensify the flavour; if you use cultivated mushrooms for this recipe, then this is almost a must; avoid using stock cubes, but if you really want to try, then get some porcini flavoured ones if you can)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 slices of bread, toasted and diced (croûtons, as the French would say)
Clean the mushrooms with a mushroom brush or a damp cloth, and cut them into pieces. Heat the olive oil, add the garlic, parsley and some pepper. Fry this mixture gently for a few minutes, without browning the garlic. Add the mushrooms. As soon as they start to give up their water, add some salt and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and let simmer gently for 20 minutes. In the mean time stir the eggs with the cheese in a bowl. When the soup is ready, add this mixture while stirring constantly with a whisk.
And while the soup is simmering, you can watch this film about la zuppa di pietra.