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Cabbage Soup with a Puffy Fontina Topper

Cabbage Soup with a Puffy Fontina Topper
Serves 4
This recipe is a variation on a famous soup from the Valtellina region of the Valle d’Aosta. The hearty combination of cabbage, beef broth, whole wheat bread and savory Fontina Valle d’Aosta produces a richly satisfying dish worthy of everyone’s “comfort food” repertoire.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 cups sliced cooking onions
  3. ¼ pound bacon
  4. 1 ½ pounds Savoy cabbage, cored and leaves cut into 1/4-inch by 2-inch slices
  5. ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. ½ teaspoon pepper
  8. 2 14-ounce cans beef broth
  9. 2 cups shredded Fontina Valle d’Aosta cheese (about 6 ounces)
For the puffy cheese topper
  1. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  2. 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  3. ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  4. 4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and cut in half so that you have 2 layers for each bowl.
Instructions
  1. Pour olive oil into a soup pot and heat over medium high. Toss in onions and bacon and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add cabbage and season with salt and pepper, mixing all ingredients in the pot well. Cover pot and turn heat down to medium low.
  2. Cook until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes stirring several times.
  3. Pour in beef broth and boost heat back up to high, bringing the broth to a boil. Cover pot again and lower heat to medium low and simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Divide the Fontina in half. Save half to layer in the soup later and mix the other half with the egg, nutmeg, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to make the base for the puffy topper.
  5. Just before serving the soup turn on the broiler. Then put ½ of a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each of 4 2-cup oven proof bowls or crocks. Ladle ¾-cup (6 ounces) of soup over the bread in each bowl. Divide the shredded Fontina Valle d’Aosta among the 4 bowls. Continue with another layer of bread, and another 3/4-cup of soup. Divide the topper mixture and spread to cover the surface of the soup in each bowl. Broil close to the broiler until brown and bubbly about 3 minutes. Serve piping hot.
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