Zuppa di cipolle con fontina - Onion soup with fontina cheese

Serves 4
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme

50g/1¾oz/4 tbsp butter
1.3kg/3lb onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, left whole
30g/1oz/3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
1 litre/1¾ pints/4 cups beef broth
400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the topping
4 slices of ciabatta bread
150g/5½oz fontina cheese, finely chopped

Tie the herbs together and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat, add the onions, garlic and tied herbs and sweat for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, whisking well to prevent lumps, then pour in the broth and wine. Add a pinch of salt and cook on a low heat, partially covered, for about 1¼ hours.

Preheat your grill (broiler) to hot. Remove the soup pan from the heat and discard the herbs and garlic. Divide the soup among four heatproof bowls, place a slice of ciabatta on top of each and sprinkle with the fontina.

Put the bowls of soup under the grill for 2 minutes, until the cheese melts and turns golden. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve at once.




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