A certain rough-hewn elegance is apparent here: the garlic is mellow and sweet, the broth enriched with egg yolks. This classic peasant soup works as a first course as well as a Sunday night supper around the kitchen table. In Italy, it’s called aquacotta, or “cooked water.” Making something out of nothing can really be something.
5 cups water
2 large heads of garlic separated into cloves, smashed, and peeled
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or California bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 loaf country-style bread (Nash’s Miche from Pane D’Amore is a great possibility)
Special Equipment: an instant-read thermometer
Combine water, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
Discard thyme and bay leaf. Force mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then return to saucepan. Whisk together yolks, cheese, and 2 tablespoons oil in same bowl until well combined. Add 1/2 cup hot garlic broth in a slow stream, whisking, then add yolk mixture to remaining hot garlic broth, whisking.
Cook soup over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until it is slightly thickened and registers 170F on thermometer, about 5 minutes; do not let boil. Stir in pepper to taste.
Tear bread into bite-sized pieces and divide among four soup bowls. Ladle soup over bread and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
We thank The Gourmet Cookbook for this recipe.