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“From "A Soup Only Tuscany Could Make", Mark Bittman, The New York Times, April 29, 2009. It says: "When you’ve gained enough experience cooking, you’re quite likely to "invent" a recipe that already exists in cuisines and even cookbooks. Especially if the ingredients are common, the techniques standard. But not this recipe. The ingredients are fairly common, but their combination is not the kind of thing a non-Italian, or perhaps even a non-Tuscan, would put together while experimenting. I found it in a restaurant, Antica Fattoria del Grottaione, in Montenero d’Orcia in Tuscany. This dish spoke to me. Named for the town in which it originated, Arcidosso, it’s dense, thick and dark, almost a stew. It makes fantastic use of stale bread, sausage, ricotta salata, carrots and spinach, somehow extracting the maximum flavor (and texture, especially in the case of the croutons) from each while blending them perfectly. It uses no stock, only water. I had never eaten anything quite like it, and my chances of creating this combination in my kitchen are about the same as that monkey typing Shakespeare. Which, in my book, makes it a pretty valuable recipe."”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 cup diced carrot (about 1/2 inch)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup stale bread, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (use coarse, country-style bread)
  • 12 lb spinach, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
  • 14-12 cup ricotta salata, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (feta may be substituted)
  • 14 cup freshly chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Put oil in a large pot or deep skillet and brown sausage over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When sausage is cooked through and leaving brown bits in pan, add carrots, onion and garlic, and continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Add bread to pan and stir for a minute or 2; add spinach and continue cooking just until it wilts, a couple of minutes.
  3. Add about 2 cups water and stir to loosen any remaining brown bits from pan. This is more of a stew than a soup, but there should be some broth, so add another cup of water if necessary. When broth is consistency of thin gravy, ladle stew into serving bowls and top with cheese and some freshly chopped parsley if you have it. Serve immediately.

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