Carabaccia Recipe

by vitus
Carabaccia

Crisp evenings call for cozy meals, and what’s more comfortable than a steaming bowl of rich, flavorful soup? Today, we’re venturing into the heart of Tuscany with a recipe for Carabaccia, a classic Italian onion soup that’s anything but ordinary.

What Is Carabaccia?

Carabaccia is a traditional Tuscan onion soup that dates back to the Renaissance era.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 4 pounds red onions (about 2 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ cup finely ground almonds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or to taste)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or more as needed)

Toast:

  • 3 thick slices of Italian bread (e.g., sourdough, ciabatta), halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 fresh sage leaves (or to taste), thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or to taste), divided

Instructions:

Caramelize The Onions:

  1. Peel and thinly slice the red onions: The thinner the slices, the quicker they’ll caramelize.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat: Add the onions, salt, and sage leaves. Stir to coat the onions with oil and distribute the sage.
  3. Simmer the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 1-1.5 hours: The goal is to caramelize them deeply, producing a soft, golden-brown mass. Be patient; this is the crucial step for a flavorful soup.

Enhance The Flavor (Optional):

  1. Once the onions are caramelized, you can incorporate the optional ingredients for a more traditional flavor profile.
  2. Add the ground almonds, cinnamon, and red wine vinegar. Stir and cook for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Build The Soup:

  1. Pour in the vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the flavors further develop.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and black pepper if needed.

Prepare The Toast (Optional):

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Top with sliced sage and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and toasted.

Serve:

  1. Ladle the hot Carabaccia into serving bowls: Top each bowl with a toasted bread slice and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  2. Enjoy the warm and comforting soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

Tips:

  • Onion Choice: Red onions are traditional for Carabaccia due to their sweetness, which complements the caramelization process. However, you can substitute with yellow onions if needed.
  • Almonds: While some recipes include ground almonds for thickening, it’s optional. The soup can thicken naturally through reduction.
  • Broth: Use a flavorful vegetable broth for the best results. You can also substitute with chicken broth for a richer flavor.
  • Leftovers: It stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently over low heat on the stovetop.
  • Variations: For a heartier version, add cooked chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, or potatoes during the simmering stage.
  • Cheese Options: You can use hard Italian cheese like Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano instead of Parmesan.

What To Serve With

Before The Soup :

  • A Simple Green Salad: A refreshing salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can help cleanse the palate before the rich flavors of the Carabaccia. Consider using seasonal greens with a light sprinkle of cheese like goat cheese or crumbled feta.
  • Bruschetta: These classic Italian appetizers are small slices of toasted bread topped with various ingredients. Opt for a simple bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil, or explore other options like white bean bruschetta or bruschetta with roasted vegetables.
  • Italian Cheeses and Cured Meats: Create a small charcuterie board featuring a selection of Italian cheeses like mozzarella, provolone, or Gorgonzola paired with cured meats like prosciutto or salami. Add sliced grapes, olives, and crusty bread for a beautiful and satisfying antipasti platter.

After The Soup :

  • A Simple Green Salad (Again): Although you might have had a salad before, a smaller side salad after the rich soup can provide a refreshing contrast.
  • Frittata: An Italian frittata is a savory baked egg dish that can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. It’s a great way to use leftover vegetables and pairs well with the flavors of Carabaccia.
  • Grilled Chicken or Fish: For a protein addition, consider grilled chicken breasts, salmon, or another type of light fish. Season simply with herbs and olive oil, complementing the soup beautifully.

Accompaniments:

  • Crusty Bread: Freshly baked bread is a must-have with Carabaccia. Use it to soak up the delicious soup and enjoy all the flavors.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil on top of the finished soup adds another layer of richness and complements the Italian flavors.
  • A Glass of Wine: Pair your Carabaccia with Italian wine. Choose a light red wine like Pinot Noir or a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.

Health Benefits

Onions: The star of the show is onions, which are loaded with nutrients and beneficial compounds. Here’s a breakdown of their health contributions to Carabaccia:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Onions are a great source of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in the body and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • Improved Heart Health: Onions contain quercetin, a flavonoid that can help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function.
  • Digestive Support: Onions contain prebiotics, fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut, promoting digestive health.
  • Vegetable Broth: A good quality vegetable broth provides essential vitamins and minerals depending on the vegetables used. It can contribute to:
  • Hydration: Broth is a hydrating liquid that is important for overall health.
  • Electrolytes: Broth can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, which is especially beneficial during hot weather or physical activity.
  • Essential Vitamins and Minerals: Depending on the vegetables used in the broth, you might get vitamins like vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium.

Other Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil: Used in moderation, olive oil provides healthy fats that can improve heart health and reduce inflammation.
  • Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs like sage offer antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties. While optional spices like cinnamon add sweetness and may benefit blood sugar regulation.

Overall Benefits:

Due to its composition, Carabaccia can be a part of a healthy diet by:

  • Boosting the Immune System: The antioxidants in onions and, potentially, from the broth can contribute to a stronger immune system.
  • Promoting Gut Health: Prebiotics in onions and a well-made broth can support a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Potential Heart Health Benefits: The combination of ingredients in Carabaccia might contribute to improved heart health through blood pressure regulation and anti-inflammatory properties.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a light meal or a comforting starter, Carabaccia offers endless possibilities. Embrace the tradition by adding almonds and cinnamon, or explore variations with different vegetables or cheeses. With its ease of preparation and versatility, Carabaccia will become a staple in your recipe repertoire.

Carabaccia

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 308 calories 15 grams fat

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 4 pounds red onions (about 2 kg)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ¼ cup finely ground almonds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or to taste)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or more as needed)

Toast:

  • 3 thick slices of Italian bread (e.g., sourdough, ciabatta), halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 fresh sage leaves (or to taste), thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or to taste), divided

 

Instructions

Caramelize The Onions:

  • Peel and thinly slice the red onions. The thinner the slices, the quicker they'll caramelize.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, and sage leaves. Stir to coat the onions with oil and distribute the sage.
  • Simmer the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 1-1.5 hours. The goal is to caramelize them deeply, producing a soft, golden-brown mass. Be patient; this is the crucial step for a flavorful soup.

Caramelize The Onions:

  • Peel and thinly slice the red onions. The thinner the slices, the quicker they'll caramelize.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, and sage leaves. Stir to coat the onions with oil and distribute the sage.
  • Simmer the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 1-1.5 hours. The goal is to caramelize them deeply, producing a soft, golden-brown mass. Be patient; this is the crucial step for a flavorful soup.

Enhance The Flavor (Optional):

  • Once the onions are caramelized, you can incorporate the optional ingredients for a more traditional flavor profile.
  • Add the ground almonds, cinnamon, and red wine vinegar. Stir and cook for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Build The Soup:

  • Pour in the vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the flavors further develop.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and black pepper if needed

Prepare The Toast (Optional):

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Top with sliced sage and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and toasted.

Serve

  • Ladle the hot Carabaccia into serving bowls: Top each bowl with a toasted bread slice and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy the warm and comforting soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

 

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