Carabaccia or Caterina dei Medici’s onion soup – Soupe à l’Oignon…

Carabaccia Zuppa di Cipolle Soupe à l’Oignon Caterina de Medici
Carabaccia Zuppa di Cipolle Soupe à l’Oignon Caterina de Medici

The Carabaccia (or, for the non-Tuscans, onion soup …) with Caterina de Medici, who in 1533 married the King of France, becomes the Soupe à l’Oignon… According to Caterina this was a very aphrodisiac dish, second only to artichokes cooked in wine, of which she made several times large indigestions… compared to these, the Carabaccia resulted however lighter and exciting (If know what I mean …), owing to the long cooking of red onions (brought by Caterina from Certaldo …) and to the considerable and exotic spiciness…

The Carabaccia that you will find today in various Tuscan restaurants unfortunately suffers adaptations, restrictions to make it more economic, or additions to make it more “filling” with other vegetables depending on the season… all great dishes, of course, but that fell from the throne of France to farmyards of the peasants, left the Salone dei Trecento to end in the taverns of Chianti …
I am a Tuscany-hardliner and I’ll settle for anything that is not as close as possible to the original, then I invite you to enjoy this I believe is the “Soupe à l’Oignon” of the wedding of Caterina.


INGREDIENTS for 4 people
2 pounds of onions of Certaldo (red sweet ones…)
2 cups blanched almonds
1 or more big bunches of grapes (Sangiovese) well unripe (this is the famous mediaeval Agresto) … or a half cup of white vinegar in a quart of water
2 ladles of vegetable broth
4 slices of Tuscan stale bread
4 abundant tablespoons seasoned Tuscan Pecorino (Tuscan DOP sheep cheese)
A quarter of a “stick” of Cinnamon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tuscan
Salt from Volterra
White pepper

The day before beat the almonds in a mortar (not the mixer, for heaven’s sake …) and put them to macerate in the juice of unripe grapes, adding a bit of cinnamon also pounded powder.
Clean and peel the onions and engrave deeply drawing a cross on top and bottom.
Soak them for an hour in the juicing of unripe grapes (or water and vinegar), ensuring that they are well covered.
Cut into thin slices and stew in covered pot over low heat for 3 hours, taking care to observe that will not dry out or stick, in the event gradually add a little broth.
Also be careful that do not darken, as the final color should be as “white” as possible.
Add the almonds, draining from “agresto”.
Add two tablespoons of vegetable broth (keeping aside a little), the cheese, the remaining cinnamon, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of white pepper, a teaspoon of salt and one of sugar.
Replace simmer for half an hour, mixing carefully, until you get a sort of cream quite liquid.
Serve very hot in 4 earthenware bowls , at the bottom of which we’ll put the slices of stale bread quickly soaked in the broth.

Articolo anche in - Article also in: Italian

About the author

Marco "Doctor Tuscany" Tenerini

Food & Wine Professional Marketing Consultant years before Facebook, I’m blending digital marketing and traditional techniques. As an Export Manager I sold 1,500,000 bottles a year of Tuscan wine and visited 36 countries. Today I help Food & Wine companies in web marketing and commercial communication. Creator of the first Food e-commerce system in Italy, winner of the Golden Triangle for the best food sites. I have taught in Universities and High Schools and wrote the book "Guide to correct business on the web for companies" (Ed. Adiconsum). Storyteller in "Storie di Piatti" (Ed. Regione Toscana) for EXPO 2015. Expert in cooking, wines, story and histories, food photography and Paladin of Made in Tuscany. Emotional marketing and commercial concreteness: as I once was a Fashion Designer, I bring in the consultancy fantasy, passion and look to the future ... and as I served as an Officer in the Army special corp Carabinieri, organization, ethical sense, seriousness ... and the tie!