Tuscan soup


1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
2 medium carrots, scraped
2 large celery stalks
1 medium red onion, cleaned
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 lb ripe fresh tomatoes, or 1 1/2 lb canned italian, drained.
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 qts cold water
2 extra large eggs

8 tbsp freshly grated parmigiano
2 cups croutons, small bread pieces fried in olive oil, or 8 slices tuscan bread, toasted

How to prepare

Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of lukewarm water for 1/2 hour. Drain and be sure that no sand remains attached to the stems. Finely chop carrots, celery, onion, garlic and the soaked mushrooms all together on a board. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chopped ingredients and saut for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon as needed. Meanwhile, pass the tomatoes through a food mill, using the disc with the smallest holes, into a small bowl. Add the strained tomatoes along with the tomato paste, then salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let simmer for 15 minutes, mixing every so often. Add the cold water, mix very well, and when the broth returns to a boil, let simmer for 55 minutes. Place the two eggs in a crockery or china soup tureen and mix them very well with the parmigiano. When the soup is ready, ladle it into the tureen, and using a wooden spoon, mix each addition very well with the egg-cheese combination, in order to avoid curdling. When the both is very smooth and the eggs completely amalgamated, add the croutons and serve immediately. If using bread slices instead, place a slice in each bowl and ladle the broth over it. Serve immediately. Yield: 8-10 servings

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