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Tuscan Onion Soup (Carabaccia)

Rated as 4.83 out of 5 Stars

"I've wanted to make carabaccia ever since I found out it was the ancient ancestor of French onion soup. They say that when made with vegetable broth, it was the favorite soup of vegetarian Leonardo da Vinci. Now you can add these interesting facts to your dinner party conversation repertoire. As for the cinnamon, the safe play is to not add any and live happily ever after. But in tiny amounts it lends a mysterious, warming background note."
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2 h 5 m servings 308
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Trim ends off onions; halve and peel. Cut onions into thin slices lengthwise along the grain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and kosher salt. Cook and stir until starting to turn translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and sweet, about 1 hour.
  3. Add sage leaves, pepper, cinnamon, and almonds to the onions. Cook and stir until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a soup pot. Pour in red wine vinegar and broth. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  5. Place Italian bread on the baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the bread; sprinkle sliced sage and some Parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Toast in the preheated oven until browned, about 15 minutes.
  7. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top each with a piece of toast. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the toast and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Dunk toast into the soup and let soak for a few minutes before serving.


  • Chef's Notes:
  • If you want to cut down on stirring, you can bake the onions in a roasting pan at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), stirring a few times along the way. Take your time and wait until they are very soft.
  • You can also use chicken or vegetable broth in this.
  • While traditional, many people don't enjoy the effect cinnamon has on the sweetness of the soup, so you may want to omit it, or add an extremely small amount, and then adjust from there. If you don't add any to the pot, you can still experiment by adding a trace amount to a small sample cup, and see what you think.
  • Substitute Pecorino cheese for the Parmesan if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 308 calories; 14.6 37.7 9.4 2 1750 Full nutrition

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I had the most amazing onion soup in Florence and I've been scouring Italian cookbooks for the recipe ever since. This is it!!! My friends could not imagine onion soup with almonds when I desc...

So glad I found this recipe. French onion soup is one of my favorites but this is far better. Yummm!

Do NOT go into making this if it is just before dinner time. Taking the time suggested by Chef John is well worth it to produce a spectacular soup. And if 4 pounds of onions seems like too muc...

This variation from Chef John is spot on for authenticity. Follow his directions and you'll enjoy the forerunner of French onion soup. The subtle hint of cinnamon and sage are contrasted against...

I made this with the baking option because I don't have a big enough skillet for so many onions. 325 was a little high for my oven, but 300 cooked the onions to the right consistency with minima...