Altamura-style soup

Altamura-style soup

Cialledda di altamura

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

My mother’s family come from Altamura, a small town perched on a hill. Altamura is famous for its bread-making tradition and is home to some of the oldest wood-fired ovens in Puglia. This soup reminds me of my maternal grandmother, Nonna Rosa, who made this soup for us every winter. This simple dish once again utilises very few ingredients, which are locally available in Puglia. It‘s a good way of using left-over bread.


Quantity Ingredient
2 brown onions, quartered
3 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
1/2 bunch silverbeet, roughly chopped
cime di rape, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly sliced
1 tomato, quartered
1 litre vegetable stock, warm
6 eggs
6 slices sourdough bread
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Put all the vegetables in a large saucepan over medium heat with a ladleful of water. Season well with salt and pepper and cook gently with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock. (Make sure you have plenty of stock in the pan, as this soup should be quite watery.) Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 45 minutes, checking the water level is covering the vegetables by 5 cm. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. If needed, top up with hot water at any time. Check the seasoning.
  3. When ready to serve, poach the eggs in boiling water for 4 minutes.
  4. Place 1 slice of sourdough bread at the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the hot soup over it. Place a poached egg on top of the soup. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and serve.
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