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Zuppa con Pane Rustica (Soup with Italian cheese croutons made from left-over fiadoni mixture)
Originated from: Casalenda, Molise
Occasion: Special times
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (adapted from her aunts' recipe)

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Chicken broth (preferably home-made)

Left-over fiadone cheese and egg mixture originally made with:

1 cup semi-ripe Caciatto, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup semi-ripe Romano cheese, grated
2 extra large eggs
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Egg wash
1 egg yolk (optional)

Equipment needed:*
Aluminum baking pan about 11 inches long, 8 inches wide, and about 1 1/2 inches high

*If one is using left-over fiadoni mixture one will need a smaller cooking pan to get the desired result


o Combine ingredients and mix well.

o Place the egg and cheese mixture in a shallow well-greased and floured pan (The uncooked mixture should not be more than 1/2 inch high in the pan, as it will rise when it cooks. So, the size of the pan depends on the amount of mixture one has, in any case the entire mixture should spread out to the entire length of the pan, and its height should be about 1/2 inch high, and not more than that.)

o Brush the top of the mixture with beaten egg yolk (This is optional and is NOT the traditional way of doing it, but it gives the croutons a more even tone if that is what you are looking for.)

o Cook in a 325 F degree oven for 25 minutes to 30 minutes or until crust is golden and the egg and cheese mixture is thoroughly cooked.

o Cool.

o Cut into small cubes (about 3/4 inch by 3/4 inch).

o Serve with hot chicken broth.


Any left-over sharp cheese fiadoni mixture can be used to make Molisani-style cheese croutons. The combination of cheeses can differ -- if one has more Romano one can use more of that, if one has more Parmesan, use that. The variations are endless. The important thing is to keep the proportions: 2 eggs for every 1 1/2 cups grated cheese. That said, personally I found that this particular recipe most resembles the one made by my mother and aunts in the 1960s for this style of soup.... Photo: by the contributor.

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