I always thought that making French onion soup would be difficult. Whenever I have ordered a bowl at a restaurant, the rich flavor and softened onion seemed difficult to recreate. Last month, we purchased a Le Creuset casserole pan (a shallow Dutch Oven) along with a book called The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy by Domenica Marchetti. We found Zuppa Di Cipolle al Pecorino basically Onion Soup with Pecorino Cheese. To date we have made three delicious recipes and I can't wait to make more. The soup took us an hour and a half, mostly because the onions cook slowly and must turn golden and velvety soft. The onion soup was amazing. The broth was rich and the onions were cooked perfectly. It was just what we needed after a big Christmas Eve meal the night before. It was warm, flavorful and hearty enough to be served as a meal. If you like onion soup, try this recipe. You'll never order it out again!
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 pounds of yellow onions or a mix of yellow and red, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup dry Marsala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups of low-sodium beef broth, heated to a simmer
8 Crostini al Pepe
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
In a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the onions and stir to coat well. Sprinkle in the marjoram and salt, reduce the heat to low and let the onions cook, uncovered, stirring from time to time, for 45 minutes, or until they are golden and velvety soft.
Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the Marsala. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, or until some of the wine has evaporated. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste with a 1/4 cup of the broth. Add the diluted tomato paste to the soup and stir. Pour in the rest of the broth. Reduce the heat to low once again and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt. Place 2 Crostini into each of 4 shallow bowls. Ladle the soup over the bread and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon or two of cheese.
My cheat sheet on the soup:
1. We used both red and yellow onions in our soup mix.
2. We didn't have marjoram and used 3/4 of a teaspoon of oregano as a substitute.
3. For the Crostini, we cut french bread into slices and sprinkled them lightly with olive oil. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.