Acqua is Italian for water and cotta is Italian for cooked; a perfect description of normal soup, but completely libellous and misleading when it comes to the rich bright flavours of this traditional Tuscan soup. The vegetables are cooked in fruity olive oil, the boiling water releases their flavour, and the whole thing is enriched with eggs at the last minute. It looks a bit murky once the eggs go in, but the flavour is wonderful.
Toast the bread ahead of time and allow to cool.
Heat the oil in a large frypan and cook onions until soft. Cut red pepper in half, remove seeds and cut into thin strips. Add celery, red pepper and tomatoes to pan. Cook for 30 minutes until soft. Add boiling water, salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes until soup is rich and thick.
Place grilled bread in soup bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Beat eggs, cheese, salt and pepper together, and add to soup, stirring. Remove from the heat immediately, and keep stirring until eggs are cooked through the soup.
Pour soup over toast, and serve with extra grated Parmigiano.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.