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

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8 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store-bought)

18 slices of Italian bread, cut 1/2 inch thick from an oval loaf
8 oz. fontina cheese, grated
1/2 c. pesto (homemade or store-bought)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Take the 18 slices of bread & spread some pesto evenly over each piece. Line a 13×9 inch pan with half the bread. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the layer. Put the other half of the bread slices on top of the bottom layer. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the top layer of cheese begins to bubble & brown.

Cut the cheesy bread into squares, large enough to sit generously in the bottom of each serving bowl. Ladle hot broth over the bread & serve.

My chicken broth
3 lb. whole chicken, rinsed & patted dry
3 celery stalks, cut into 3rds
3 carrots, peeled, washed & cut into 4ths
1 large onion, cut into 1/4′s
4 sage leaves
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3 sprig thyme
10 sprigs of parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt

Put whole chicken in pot (I used a 5 1/2 qt.) & fill the pot with water to about 2/3rds full.
Next add the veggies, herbs, salt & peppercorns. Put the heat on medium high & bring to a boil. Once boiled, lower heat to medium, cover with lid & cook for about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from the heat & let cool for about 10 minutes or so. Take out the chicken & as much of the veggies as possible, don’t worry about taking everything out because next you need to strain the soup. Strain it into a large clean pot & put aside.
3 lb. whole chicken, rinsed & patted dry

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