After enjoying an October that felt more like summer than fall, November arrived bringing rain and cooler temperatures. When the weather is damp and chilly, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of warm soup. This soup is one I tasted in Arrezzo many years ago, and for some reason, even though I have made it often, it never managed to make it onto my blog. I made this soup a couple of times this fall already, and it is so hearty and tasty, I decided it was past time that I share it. This soup consists of thin slices of Italian bread (stale bread works great), sweet caramelized onions, a combination of cheeses, all layered in a casserole dish. Warm broth is then poured over the top of the layered ingredients, and everything is baked until the soup is bubbly and brown.
Homemade chicken or beef broth is best in this soup, but if you do not have the time to make your own stock, do buy a good quality brand. This soup freezes well, and in fact, I had frozen one large casserole of this soup that I thawed, baked, and served to friends who were helping us harvest our olives. I find that depending on the type of bread you use and how stale it is, the bread can absorb much of the broth, creating more of a bread and onion casserole than a soup. To combat this, I add an extra ladle or two of hot stock to the bowls when I am serving. Leftovers of this soup reheat really well in a low oven, just add a little extra broth when serving.
Deborah Mele 2019
- 1 Large Stale Loaf of Italian Bread, Cut Into 1/2-inch Slices
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 5 Pounds Yellow Onions, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- 6 Cups Homeade Chicken or Beef Broth (Plus Extra For Serving) Heated
- 4 Cups Shredded Fontina or Mozzarella (Any Italian Melting Cheese)
- 2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
- In a large, heavy-bottom pan, heat half the butter and the oil until sizzling over medium heat.
- Add the onions and sugar, and stir to mix.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high heat.
- Continue to cook until the onions are golden brown and very soft, about another 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the onions to a bowl and deglaze the pan with the white wine over high heat.
- When the wine has reduced by half, stir it into the pot with the hot broth.
- Use the remaining butter to liberally grease the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
- Line the bottom with a layer of bread, breaking up pieces to fit as needed.
- Spoon 1/2 onions over the bread, then top with 1/3 of both of the cheeses.
- Make another layer the same, then top with a layer of bread slices and cheese.
- Carefully ladle the broth over the bread and onions, pressing then bread down with your fingertips to ensure it is soaked.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the casserole on a rimmed tray to catch drippings, and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the soup is bubbly and brown on top.
- Serve in individual bowls with an additional ladle or two of hot broth spooned on top.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555 Total Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 142mg Sodium: 758mg Carbohydrates: 24g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 36g