Zuppa con Pane Tostato (soup w/ toasted pesto & fontina bread)

November 13th, 2012 § 0 comments

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Last week we were without electricity for 12 days, due to hurricane Sandy. The storm was like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. The intense winds, actually made our house shake. I was, I will admit, scared to death! As my family slept, which I don’t know how they did, I peered out the window, as though I was watching a horror movie. I only began to relax, when I saw the winds die down and I knew the worst was over. There was no damage to our house, just a few small trees went down and we were without electricity.

When I saw the devastation the storm had done to the New Jersey coast and New York City, I thanked the Lord that we only lost power. We had no heat, no hot water and we couldn’t cook. But, all-in-all we were lucky. We stayed in the house by the fireplace as long as we could, but it got way too cold. The temperatures in the house went well into the 30’s. We have 4 little dogs, that weigh from 4-6 pounds, that I was concerned about. Their little sweaters weren’t enough to keep them warm. We tried to find a hotel room, but it wasn’t easy. Everyone without power and who had flooding, had the same idea. We did however, find a room about 8 days into being powerless. So, we packed up the pooches and off we went.

On the 12th day, we went to our house to check things out. While we were there, the power suddenly went on and we could hear cheering, not only from our neighbors, but from the utility workers. My dogs were so happy, they even started a conga line. We were all so excited. Of course, with the power being out for 12 days, I had to clear out my fridge and freezer. The good part about that was, I got to throw away all those useless condiment jars that were crammed on the refrigerator door. I also, finally got rid of the unidentifiable frozen mass that’s been hiding in the back of the freezer. I had to start fresh.

The first thing in the morning, I ran to the market to restock. Even though, our power was restored and our house was nice and warm, I couldn’t shake a chill that was deep in my bones. I was coughing, and both the dogs and I were sneezing. I needed something to warm me up, inside and out. All I could think of was making a huge pot of chicken soup. The dish I posted here, is my take on a traditional recipe from the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy. Since this region is near the Alps, the food tends to be hearty and satisfying; just what I needed. The simple broth is made to stick to your ribs by adding a hunk of toasted bread that’s covered with melted fontina cheese, which is produced in this region. I changed the recipe up a bit. I added pesto to the bread for extra flavor and I pureed pieces of chicken and veggies into the broth, to give it a little more body. It’s like putting a grilled cheese sandwich in a bowl of soup. The crispy, cheesy, pesto bread, soaks up all the juicy chicken broth like sponge. It was, oh..so..satisfying.

We loved this dish so much, It will no doubt become a stable. Every time, I make this soup, I’ll not only take joy in how delicious it is, but It will remind me of how lucky we were, to have escaped harm, from the most devastating storm to hit the East coast.

continuare per la ricetta>> (recipe)

I encourage you to help those who were severely effected by this horrendous storm, by donating to the Red Cross. Every little bit helps.

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