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Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia … doesn’t that word just sound romantic? Carabaccia is very much like French Onion Soup; it has that same beefy onion broth flavor with the mmm melted cheese, but it’s also got a dark red burgundy color (and taste) to it, and a subtle bit of spice that just draws you into the bowl.

Did you know French Onion Soup was not originated in France?

I learn the most interesting things from my foodie friends.

Several days ago, Linda’s Italian Table posted a recipe on my wall in facebook. A little onion soup history lesson courtesy of Linda:

“French Onion Soup was not always French and was introduced to the French by none other than Catherine de Medici at the ripe old age of 14, when she married Henry II of France. Apparently she brought her well equipped Tuscan chefs with her to France and also taught the French the use of the fork. (Funny – I thought the French knew everything.) During medieval times, and also during Catherine’s era, the dish was much sweeter than the present day version and has changed over centuries.”

There are differing opinions on what the word “carabaccia” actually means. Some say it is a small boat.

I say it’s delicious.

Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia (Italian Onion Soup)

This is my twist on Linda’s Carabaccia. Serves 3 or 4, depending on the size of your bowls.

Tuscan Onion Soup

  • 2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 t. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3/8 c. red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. honey
  • 3 1/2 c. beef broth
  • Shredded Parmigiano–Reggiano Cheese and/or other Italian cheeses. (Italian purists will hate me for this, but I ran out of Parmigiano and used some Swiss in place of part of it and OH the swiss with the parmigiano was even better …)


  • Peel and slice the red onions.
  • Cook the sliced onions in the butter and oil at medium to med. high heat until onions are caramelized and begin to brown. This takes about 30 minutes. Stir them occasionally so they do not burn. (I don’t think I cooked mine quite that long … probably about 15 minutes.)
  • Add the wine, honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf. Cook about 3 min. more, stirring.
  • Add the beef broth. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to simmer about 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning – add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (I didn’t think it needed any salt! But perhaps my broth was saltier than Linda’s?)
  • When finished, fish out the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves and discard.
  • Toast very thin slices of bread.
  • Pour the hot soup into oven-safe bowls.
  • Place a slice of toast into each bowl and top with cheese.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately. It goes very well with a glass of red wine.

Carabaccia: It's French Onion Soup ... but it's Italian!

Shared on: Katherine Martinelli’s Onion Bloghop

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17 Responses

  1. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme

    This look FABULOUS! I love the combination of ingredients. I definitely need to try this! I love onions, and this is right up my alley! Delicious is right! 🙂

    November 1, 2011 at 9:22 am

  2. Umm.. Yum! I am very glad to have found your site! You have yourself a new reader.

    November 1, 2011 at 9:44 am

  3. Ann

    Thank you! I am so glad you stopped by. Gay Gourmet: I visited your blog … that beet soup looks so beautiful!

    November 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

  4. Kim

    It’s a soup kind of day in Kansas. This looks great.

    November 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

  5. Oh how fun is this! I love learning new things, especially about food! Thanks for sharing!!!

    November 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    • Ann

      Hi Nicole,

      Oh me too! I was so excited to try this one. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by my blog.


      November 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm



    November 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  7. This looks sooooo delicious! I love your pottery bowls, too. 😉 Thanks for another great recipe on Fit and Fabulous Fridays!!

    November 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm

  8. Amy

    oh yummy!!

    November 8, 2011 at 2:43 am

  9. What an awesome onion soup, we would just love your Italian Onion Soup. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great day and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    November 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

  10. Your pictures are making my mouth water! That toasty bread and cheese with the onions!!!! WOW! Superb soup recipe 🙂

    November 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm

  11. Loved the history lesson! This looks incredible! Totally shared it on FB

    September 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

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