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Roasted Onion Soup from Tuscany

Zuppa di Cippolle Arrosti di Toscana


Tuscan cooks are partial to making soups, often favoring them over pasta. And like pasta, they are a first course or depending on the number of ingredients that go into them, they can serve as a main course. Bread is often a component in Tuscan soup, either as thickener as in Pappa al Pomodoro or placed in the base of a soup bowl.

In summer I like to make soups on the lighter side, favoring a light tomato soup, but when crisp weather arrives, give me something hearty like this onion soup. I make it using a variety of onions from my garden but common yellow onions yield a very nice flavor. Roasting them first is the secret to its hearty flavor


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

5-6 large onions, red and yellow mixed, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

5 1/2 cups hot beef broth, fresh or low-sodium canned

1/2 cup dry red wine

Fine sea salt to taste

Grinding coarse black pepper

4 slices coarse bread cut 1/2-inch thick

1/4 grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

8 slices Swiss, Gruyere, or Provolone cheese, plus additional grated, if desired


Pre-heat oven to 450.

Thinly slice onions and spread on oiled bake sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, add the pancetta or salt pork, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the roasted onions, broth, and grated cheese, stir well, re-cover the pot, and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes.

In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil and fry the bread slices on each side until golden brown. Add additional oil as needed. Drain the bread on brown paper and set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual ovenproof soup bowls. Add ½ teaspoon sherry to each bowl. Place a slice of cheese on top of each bowl, then a slice of bread and another slice of cheese. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese, if desired. Place the soup bowls under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Serve immediately.


  1. Carolina's avatar


    How can this recipe be made into a "vegetarian" style soup and still have the rich flavor but without using pancetta or beef broth?

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