"We first ate this in a restaurant in Saturnia," says Rogers. "Its simple name, acqua cotta (which translates as 'cooked water'), belies this dish - it's one of the most sophisticated Tuscan soups. It uses dried porcini mushrooms, ripe tomatoes and toasted Tuscan bread. It's important to cook the soffritto of carrot, onion, celery and garlic for a long time - until they become soft, lose their individual shape and merge into one strong flavour."
- 75 gm dried porcini
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery heart with leaves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, 3 finely chopped, 1 cut in half
- 800 gm canned peeled tomatoes
- 6-8 slices ciabatta (1.5cm-thick)
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 small dried chilli, crushed
- 1Soak porcini in 800ml lukewarm water for 30 minutes, then strain, reserving liquid, rinse, roughly chop and set aside.
- 2Heat oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add carrot, celery, onion and chopped garlic and gently sauté until soft (20-30 minutes). Add porcini and cook until soft (5 minutes). Smash tomato into the mixture and season well to taste. Add reserved porcini liquid, reduce heat to low and simmer until thick (45 minutes to 1 hour; add a little hot water if soup becomes too thick).
- 3Meanwhile, preheat grill to high heat. Grill bread, turning halfway, until toasted (2-4 minutes). Rub one side of each slice of bread with the cut side of the halved garlic clove, then place a slice in each serving bowl. Ladle soup in, drizzle with oil, scatter with parsley and chilli and serve hot.