Make Ahead

Tuscan Onion Soup (Carabaccia)

January  2, 2018
9 Ratings
Photo by Emiko
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The Tuscans will tell you they invented onion soup—one of the best-known versions of this soup, carabaccia, was jotted down in a 1500s cookbook. Serve it with or without the eggs, but I think they add great sustenance to this otherwise very simple soup. If you want richer flavor, you can use chicken stock, or fry some pancetta or sausage pieces and add them to the soup. In the springtime, a version of this soup includes fresh peas (frozen will do) and fava (broad) beans.

You can make the soup ahead with everything except the eggs and Parmesan and simply add these once you have reheated the soup.

This is edited slightly from my cookbook "Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence," published by Hardie Grant Books, 2016 (in the original I call for making your own vegetable stock, but for ease, I didn't specify—but obviously, for such a simple recipe, use a good quality one, whichever way you decide to go).

Featured In: You Know French Onion Soup—But Do You Know Its Tuscan Mother?Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds (roughly 1 kg) red onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups (1 liter) vegetable stock
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving if desired
  • 4 slices crusty bread, toasted
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, gently saute the onion in the olive oil with a good pinch of salt and pepper and sage leaves on lowest heat. Let them sweat very gently without letting them colour to release their sweetness, about 30 minutes. If they begin to get dry or stick just add a splash of the vegetable stock.
  2. Add the stock to cover and turn heat up until it begins to simmer. Keep heat on medium and let the soup cook 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper as needed.
  3. About 5 minutes before soup is ready, sprinkle half of the cheese over the top of the soup, crack the eggs into the pot and cover with the rest of the cheese and cover, without stirring. The whites should be cooked and the yolks runny—about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve the soup with an egg in each bowl along with the bread. If desired, sprinkle over extra Parmesan, a grating of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Natalia Kolk
    Natalia Kolk
  • James Wisdom
    James Wisdom
  • Courtney C
    Courtney C
  • tracy riser
    tracy riser
  • Sheila Noone
    Sheila Noone

14 Reviews

American W. December 15, 2023
This soup is SO GOOD - it supports my highly biased family's opinion that French culture is just copying Italians and not doing things as well. (Don't tell my French sister-in-law.)

I had this for the first time at a restaurant in Florence that specialized in authentic Tuscan cuisine, and was thrilled to find that what I made at home using this recipe was just as delicious. Thank you!
Natalia K. January 15, 2023
Delicious! For leftovers I added some cooked Christmas Lima beans instead of the egg. Super easy pantry soup!
Nissa V. December 10, 2018
Easy and so satisfying--we loved this! Even my non-onion-eating husband asked me to make it again. Slicing the onions wasn't too onerous, and the rest of the soup practically cooks itself. My onions took twice as long to get nice and soft but no big deal. Perfect for a rainy, chilly day.
James W. March 18, 2018
Made this for my family tonight including 2 boys, 6 and 10. They're biased against onions and good food but loved it. They already like "dippy eggs" so the novelty of the egg was interesting to them. Delicious and hearty, will make again.
Luciana January 29, 2019
We call them dippy eggs, too! :)
melissa January 29, 2018
I get frozen fava beans at my local Brazilian grocery and would like to include them. Would I add them with the broth? Also, should I turn off the heat when I add the eggs or keep it at a simmer? Thanks.
Emiko January 30, 2018
I would add them towards the end but before the eggs, so that they are just cooked through. For the eggs you keep the heat on! Enjoy!
Courtney C. January 26, 2018
This was delicious - exactly what I needed to have for dinner. It was easy and comforting, perfect for a January night. Grazie!
tracy R. January 25, 2018
In article, it says the bread is served on the bottom of the bowl, is that still the case?
Emiko January 26, 2018
Yes, you can't see it in the photo as it's on the bottom of the bowl! :) Feel free to add more on the side too, Tuscans always eat plenty of bread with their food!
Debra W. January 25, 2018
What happens if you make it without the eggs? I know it will change the texture of the soup, but the eggs just don't appeal to me.
Emiko January 26, 2018
Nothing at all, the soup is perfectly fine without the eggs (which go in right at the end and just add some substance - they are poached whole, not stirred through it or anything so actually the texture of the soup is the same). Feel free to do it without! :)
Sheila N. January 21, 2018
Are red onions crucial? Wondering if yellow would be ok.
Emiko January 22, 2018
Feel free to use whatever you have on hand! (Red onions are historically the traditional onion in Tuscany as there are heirloom varieties that are native to near Florence, so this is why I call for them, but absolutely you can use what you prefer!)