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Acquacotta hails from Maremma in Tuscany and is one of the region's most popular bread-based soups. Translating as ‘cooked water’, this peasant dish was invented as a way of using up stale bread and whichever herbs and vegetables shepherds and farmers had to hand. For this reason there is no one ‘true’ recipe of acquacotta. Our version uses dried porcini for an extra earthiness and is finished with poached eggs cooked directly in the broth.

Begin by rehydrating the dried mushrooms in 200ml boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft, then drain (reserving the stock) and roughly chop
Add a good glug of olive oil to to a large heavy-bottomed pan and set over a medium heat. Sweat the onion, garlic, carrot and celery until soft but not coloured
Add the tomatoes and chopped porcini mushrooms and stir for a minute or so
Add the cavolo nero (or cabbage) and top up with water. Season with salt and pepper, bring up to the boil then leave to simmer for 35 minutes
Taste and season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice
Gently crack 4 eggs into the broth, season the yolks and place a lid on for 5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked but still with soft yolks
In the meantime, toast your bread and divide between 4 bowls. Generously grate pecorino over each piece of toast and carefully ladle the soup over, ensuring you don’t break the egg yolks. Serve immediately
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