Small boats of cheesy bread floating in a simple Tuscan onion soup with a sophisticated touch of cinnamon.
Some say ‘Carabaccia’ means ‘a combination of simple things’, while Go Florence claims the word refers to a small boat which once carried sand and salt across the Arno. The word isn’t listed in my version of Zingarelli, so I just assume that both explanations are true, although the link from boat to soup is long lost, and enjoy this low-cost Tuscan version of the French Soupe à l’oignon. After all it may look like a small boat of cheesy bread floating in a soup of very simple things with a sophisticated touch of cinnamon.
I have replaced the almonds of traditional recipes with a potato that serves as starch to give the soup a nice creamy texture and is a lot easier to handle than my almonds, which have to be cracked from their shells before they can be peeled and pasted. Work I tend to reserve for special occasions, and carabaccia is not one of them.
3 red onions
3 yellow onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp pepper corns
1 ltr beef stock
olive oil, salt, sugar, white wine vinegar
Finely chop onions, garlic and potato and fry it in oil until the onions start to caramelize.
Add cinnamon, pepper corns and beef stock and let it simmer for 30 minutes until the onions have started to disintegrate.
Adjust the taste with salt, white wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar, if necessary.
Sprinkle grated pecorino cheese over slices of bread and toast them in the oven to make the cheese melt.
Serve the cheese bread swimming in Tuscan onion soup or on a separate plate, as you prefer.