Zuppa Valdostana (Mountain Soup)

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Is it cold enough out there? Then it’s the perfect weather to prepare this super tasty soup! 🙂

The “Zuppa Valdostana” (whose name in the local dialect is “Seupa à la Vapelenentse”) is one of the most typical and famous recipes of Valle D’Aosta region, that small Italian region in the Alps next to France and Switzerland, and its origins are exactly in the small village of Valpelline.

As for most of the traditional mountain recipes, it was born as a poor dish, to recycle leftovers and old bread, and it has to give energy to the body, so it’s far from the common idea of soup as a light dish 😀 for winter it’s simply perfect!

The most important ingredient is the cheese, the famous Fontina DOP, which happily I can find also here in Budapest 🙂 without that it wouldn’t be the same, it’s this cheese that gives to this soup its special and very distinctive “mountain taste”. How is this cheese? This cheese has been produced in those Alps since the XIIth century, it’s a fat and semi hard cheese, it’s produced only from fresh raw cow milk which has to be milked no more than 2 hours before making the cheese, the aroma is fairly pungent and has quite an intense flavor (take care when you look for it, there are imitations on the market which are completely different). In alternative, if you cannot find the Fontina DOP but you want to make a similar dish, you could try to use another semi-hard good quality high mountain cheese (for example Asiago, Montasio, Bitto, BergkäseBeaufort, Gruyère).

For the ones who are more interested, HERE you can see the official procedural guidelines to produce a real Fontina DOP.

Back to our recipe, you will be amazed of the smell that will spread all around in your kitchen, you will feel like being in a high mountain refuge! (almost 🙂 ).

INGREDIENTS (4 people):

  • 1 liter of meat broth (usually beef, but also chicken, hen, capon or rooster are perfect)
  • about 8 slices of stale dark bread (usually rye, or rye/wheat, but also white bread can be used)
  • 400 g of Fontina DOP
  • half of a Savoy cabbage
  • butter, about 50/60 g
  1. First of all, prepare the meat broth if you don’t have it already, then remove the harder external leaves from the Savoy cabbage and remove the harder central part from the leaves you will use.
  2. Boil the cabbage leaves in water, just enough to make it a bit softer, then drain the leaves, cut them in slices and cook them few minutes in butter.
  3. Take a large baking pan or 4 smaller ones (if you have it in ceramic is better), spread a little bit of butter on the bottom and then start to do the layers in the following order: bread, cabbage and Fontina DOP. Two layers are enough.
  4. After you pose the first slices of bread add already a ladle of hot broth, then add the cabbage and for the first layer I cut the Fontina in small pieces, as you can see in the photo below: untitled-1small
  5. Then add the second layer of bread, some broth, the cabbage and on the top the remaining Fontina in big slices.
  6. Add again hot soup until it’s almost covered (the Fontina on the top has to remain outside from the liquid) and then put in the oven at 180 °C, fan-assisted mode, for about 20 minutes. If you see that it gets dry, you can add some more soup while baking, but I didn’t need to do it.aaa_8676small
  7. When the Fontina makes a nice crust, our soup is ready 🙂 As I said, the smell is really amazing and very inviting!
  8. Take it out from the oven and add some melted butter on it (as I said, it’s a caloric high mountain dish 😀 ).
  9. Now it’s ready…take a deep breath of its perfume and enjoy it! 🙂

PS: since it’s a traditional recipe, every family has it’s own recipe, in some variations there is a little bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on the top, and someone add also lardo or pancetta or some slices of local cured hams.

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MAGYAR 

Hozzávalók ( 4 személyre):

  • 1 liter húsleves ( általában marhahúsleves, de csirke, tyúk, kappan vagy kakas is tökéletes)
  • kb. 8 szelet száraz rozskenyér
  • 400g Fontina DOP sajt
  • kb. fél kelkáposzta
  • 50-60g vaj
  1. Először készítsd el a húslevest. Aztán a kelkáposztát megtisztítjuk, a külső keményebb leveleit valamint a torzsáját kivesszük, megmossuk.
  2. Forrásban lévő vízbe tesszük a kelkáposztát, amíg egy kicsit puhább lesz. Majd leszűrjük, darabokra vágjuk és kis vajon rövid ideig dinszteljük.
  3. Egy nagy edénybe, vagy 4 kisebbe ( a legjobb ha kerámia cserépedénybe) tegyünk vajat, majd rétegezve tegyünk kenyeret,káposztát, majd Fontina DOP sajtot. Kétszer megismételjük.
  4. Az első szelet kenyér után adj hozzá egy kis húslevest, majd azután a káposztát és az apróra vágott Fontinát
  5. Add hozzá a második réteg kenyeret, majd megint egy kis levest, káposztát és végül nagyobb szelet Fontina sajtszelet kerül a tetejére
  6. Annyi levest adj még hozzá,hogy majdnem ellepje, majd tedd a 180°C-ra előmelegített sütőbe kb. 20 percig. Amennyiben kicsit elkezdene száradni, adj még hozzá húslevest.
  7. Amikor a Fontina szépen ráolvad és kicsit megsült, kész is a levesünk. Az illata igazán fantasztikus, hívogató 🙂
  8. Vedd ki a sütőből és még tehetsz egy kis vajat a tetejére (ahogy mondtam, nem diétás étel 😀 )
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