Acquacotta, cooked water, for lunch, because after the first explosion of warm springtime weather now there is rather cold, uncooked rain water tapping on the windows from outside.
The only constants of this endlessly variable, always comforting brothy stew are some vegetables
– in the poorest incarnation of this dishnothing more than some onion (which is delicious!) but extending it with celery and carrot into the holy soffritto trinity is quite good, as is adding tomato or even potato –
all of them diced and softened in olive oil with a pinch of salt, very gently and longer than you might think; then water is poured over them and in with it goes a good handful of chopped foraged greens
– things like dandelion, borage or chard would be lovely, but my foraging took place in the fridge where I found fennel fronds, celery leaves, radish tops, and a little parsley –
simmering it all, with a bit more salt, pepper, possibly chilli, until the vegetables are tender and the broth aromatic.
Inspired by Rachel Roddy’s excellent version I also poached an egg in there, stretching the acquacotta a bit far from its humble essence but in such a very good way. Finally, it is all ladled into a deep plate over a crostone
– a big slice of very stale or toasted bread (the good kind that gets soft and a bit crumbly when soaked in liquid, not slimy or rubbery), rubbed with the cut side of a garlic clove if you want –
followed by a drizzle of very good olive oil, a grinding of black pepper, some more finely chopped greens.
And to go with it, some poetry by Eugenio Montale, a few poems from Ossi di seppia, sepia bones, where I had stopped reading last time; followed by the one near the back of this volume where it already falls open on its own, Notizie dall’Amiata, just as comforting in its familiarity, unpretentious complexity and plain goodness as my plate of acquacotta.