We may not be able to travel far at the moment but if like me, you enjoy travelling with your taste buds, I’ve plenty of delicious recipes to share with you collected on my travels. Today’s Zuppa Gallurese recipe from the Italian island of Sardinia is real comfort food at its best. It’s both tasty and filling and a great way to use up stale bread.
I first tried Zuppa Gallurese during a traditional Sardinian feast at an agriturismo in the north-east of the island. Dish after delicious dish was served to us but it was the Zuppa Gallurese, more than anything else, that stuck in my mind. I loved this savoury bread pudding (not a soup as the name suggests). And it’s a breeze to reproduce at home if you can find the right cheese that is.
This traditional peasant dish is believed to date back to the middle ages. I’ve seen recipes with different cheeses being used including Casizolu mixed with Pecorino but I’ve stuck with the recipe a Sardinian friend gave me using three different kinds of local cheese. What never varies though, is that the cheese should be from Sardinia. However, if you can’t source Sardinian cheese, any good Italian Parmagiano or Pecorino cheese will do at a pinch mixed with a cheese that melts well. You could try substituting the fontina with mozzarella or even gouda. Just don’t tell the Sardinians I said so!
The broth is traditionally made from mutton but beef, or even chicken or a mix of all three can be used, just as long as it is full of flavour.
One of the great things about this recipe is that you don’t have to be too particular about your quantities and the end result is tasty and hearty. It’s the perfect comfort food for a chilly evening in England whatever the time of year. While today the sun is shining in a glorious blue sky, I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of the chilly weather before spring finally arrives.
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- Pre-heat the oven to a medium heat.
- Heat the broth.
- Finely chop the parsley.
- Grate the Pecorino.
- Cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the bread making sure there are no gaps.
- Cover the bread with the grated cheese, a little black pepper and parsley.
- Repeat layering the bread and cheese ending with a layer of bread.
- Slowly ladle the hot broth to wet all the bread but not to drown it. You may not need it all.
- Use the back of a spoon to gently push the bread down to soak up the broth.
- Check you have added enough broth by poking the bread with a fork. If the bread sticks to the fork you need to add a little more broth.
- Sprinkle the fontina over the top.
- Bake in a moderate oven for around 45 minutes until the cheese has melted and a crispy golden crust has formed.
- Leave to stand for about ten minutes and serve while still hot.
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