ENJOY THE ANCIENT CARABACCIA ONION SOUP
In a pot, prepare an aromatic broth boiling for 30 minutes in 1 litre of water, on a low heat, covered with a lid: 1 tablespoon of granular extract for broth clear; 1 cluster of parsley; 1 celery stick; 1 carrot peeled and cut in half; 6-7 leaves of basil and 2 bay leaves.
In a casserole instead, put: 6-7 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil; 4 big white onions cut into thin slices; 2 leeks (only the white part) cut a la julienne; 2 carrots peeled and sliced a la julienne; 2-3 tender celery sticks also cut into little sticks; 200 gr. of peas (also frozen) and 8-10 grains of white pepper. On a low heat, covered with a lid, let it stew very slowly for 40-45 minutes, stirring several times and tasting and fixing the salt just before the cooking time is over.
Therefore arrange these two secondary preparations, while they cook, fetch a saucepan and in it put: 50 gr. of dry meat cut into thin slices and coarsely cut into pieces and, along with 2-3 tablespoons of the usual olive oil, on a medium heat, not covered with a lid, let it brown until, as it melts down, it releases all the fat. Add, at this point, 100 gr. of peeled almonds and let them toast in the oil of the dry meat for 5-6 minutes stirring continuously. When the almonds start to turn into a light brown colour, wet it with 2-3 drops of balsamic vinegar and as soon as they evaporate a bit sprinkle on top also 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of fine spices. Therefore quickly stir it and mix it with a continuous movement for 2-3 minutes, afterwards add, still boiling, all the aromatic broth which in the meantime is ready in the pot passing it through the masher finely (throw away what remains). Again stir it and mix it thoroughly, let it cook for at least 30 minutes more, stirring a few times.
At the right time, get back to the casserole where, the onions (and the other vegetables) will have completed their slow stewing by now. Taste it, fix the salt, therefore, take the pot with the aromatic broth off the stove and let it cool down a bit, pour it (the enriched broth) in a food processor, blend it thoroughly until all its ingredients are disintegrated and homogenized then pour it, this as well into the casserole, on top of the onions and on top of all the other vegetables. Stir again and carefully mix it all, let come to a slight boil again, cover it with the lid, let it cook slowly for 15 more minutes stirring a couple of times.
When this time is also over (during which the broth will harmonize all the ingredients added together until it results in a unique compound, but a harmonious savoury sweet-strong-spicy expression) fix with slight touches the equilibriums among the various ingredients and the general savour, then turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes, the casserole covered, close to a source of heat, until, without boiling anymore, this broth stays hot and almost boiling.
While the broth rests, toast 8 thin slices of stale Tuscan bread, place (2 each) in 4 very hot bowls. Therefore fetch the broth, pour it into a soup tureen, also very hot and place it in the centre of the table. Here, helping yourself with a ladle, being careful to grasp together, each time, the right amount of broth and onions, covering the bread in the bowls with it, in the measure in which, the soup more or less watery, it will be most preferred by each of the dinner guests.
According to your preference, this Carabaccia can be finished "in dolce", slightly sprinkling it with a mixture of icing sugar and powdered cinnamon; "in forte", with a garnishing of seasoned pecorino cheese grated and a pinch of black pepper. Some also add the yolk of 1 raw egg in each bowl, we don't.
Wine: because of its contrasting savours, it is very difficult to conveniently combine this soup with a wine. For the version "in dolce" however, I suggest a NOVELLO from Tuscany, which just in these days was presented with great pomp and ceremony on the market; for the version "in forte" instead I would be inclined for the same COACERBATO DE LE LAME, presented last week.