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Originally published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 6:00 AM

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Recipe: Italian-style onion soup topped with a poached egg

In my quest to slim down this French classic I turned to Italy. I caramelized the onions in olive oil, rather than butter, swapped out the...

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I got through college on top ramen with a poached egg in it. MORE
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In my quest to slim down this French classic I turned to Italy. I caramelized the onions in olive oil, rather than butter, swapped out the Gruyere in favor of Parmigiano-Reggiano (less fat and bigger flavor, so you can use less of it), and moved the croutons and cheese off the top to make room for a poached egg. Finally, I added some pancetta for flavor, because we have to have at least a little fun.

Traditional French onion soup is a rich first course. This Italian-style onion soup is a full meal in a bowl.

Serves four

2 ounces chopped pancetta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds yellow onions, thinly-sliced

1 cup red wine

5 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar

4 large eggs

1 ½ ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Ground black pepper

Eight 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices, toasted

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until it is golden. Transfer it to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Return the saucepan to medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions, then cook, covered but stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook, stirring frequently, for another 35 to 45 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. Add the wine and boil until it is reduced by half. Add the broth and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a low simmer. Add the vinegar.

Crack each egg into a small glass. One at a time, gently and slowly pour each egg into the simmering water, bringing the lip of the glass right down to the water so that the egg slides in. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook them in two batches. Cook for four minutes, then use a slotted spoon to lift each egg out (letting excess water drip away).

To serve, ladle the soup into four bowls. Top each with a poached egg, sprinkle with some of the cheese, some of the pancetta and pepper to taste. Serve each portion with two toasts on the side.

Nutrition per serving: 710 calories; 250 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 28 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 200 mg cholesterol; 73 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 19 g sugar; 31 g protein; 1200 mg sodium.

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