Tag Archives: Fontina

Fontina Potato Soup & Introducing Smart Cookie Chatter

Attention, my little cookies! Want to be a part of next week’s video? I will be featuring a new segment called Smart Cookie Chatter in which I answer all of your questions. The topic this week is “desserts,” but no questions are really off-limits. Submit your questions/comments below or on The Smart Cookie Chatter Page (or you can email them to thesmartcookiecook@yahoo.com), and your question may be featured in next week’s video! I want to hear your questions!

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A very common soup nowadays is good old Baked Potato Soup. You can hardly blame it for being so popular. How could any one not like thick, creamy soup filled with melted cheese and chunks of potato? It’s an obviously delicious soup, but it’s been done so many times. Because I possess such a passionate love for potatoes and because Baked Potato Soup is my favorite, I knew it was time to try a new twist.

This Fontina Potato Soup is sort of like the Italian cousin of the Baked Potato Soup you’ve become accustomed to. Instead of Cheddar or American cheese, this soup has melty* Fontina and tangy Parmesan blended in. Then, instead of chives or scallion, I employ fresh, aromatic Rosemary and Thyme to infuse this soup with wonderful flavors. Of course, with this soup being of Italian heritage, there has got to be garlic. And just for safe measures, strong and tasty shallots join the cast of characters as well. If you make this soup, I ensure you that there will be no shortage of flavor here. After becoming so accustomed to mild and yummy Baked Potato Soup, this kicked up version will give you the wake up call you didn’t know you needed.

Comforting and cheesy, this creamy soup will fill you up with its wonderful richness and warm you from the inside out. When winter calls, Fontina Potato Soup answers. It’s a hearty, filling soup that’s bulked up with potatoes aplenty. I don’t skimp on my taters, you guys. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is soup; it will fill you up and shoot waves of comfort all the way down to your bones.

If you like traditional Baked Potato Soup, you will love this flavorful, cheesy cousin. Even if you aren’t a fan of the classic version, you’ll find love in a bowl here. It’s so different from what you’re used to, and yet still bears the comforting qualities of traditional Baked Potato Soup. When you crave creamy, cheesy, warm goodness, this soup is the way to go. It’s got so much going for it that you just can’t go wrong.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Confession: this recipe stemmed from my need to use up the mounds of residual Baked Fontina Dip that I had leftover from Superbowl weekend.
  2. Serving this soup with some bread for dipping is a must.
  3. Don’t like the herbs I used? Try Basil or Parsley instead.
  4. No, the world will not end if you use Russets instead of Yukon Gold potatoes. But humor me for a second: Yukons have this incredible, buttery flavor and tender texture that I think makes them superior to other varieties and perfect for this soup. Also, you will want to use less if you choose Russets because they are typically bigger than Yukons.
  5. Asiago would be a delicious twist in place of Parmesan cheese.
  6. USE FRESH HERBS. Forget you even own dried herbs. They don’t exist, and they are not an acceptable substitute. You will never get the amazing flavor and aroma provided by fresh herbs.
  7. Same goes for fresh garlic!
  8. I will, however, forgive you if you forgo the shallot for a regular onion. Note, however, that you will want to use much less than you would a shallot because regular onions have a much stronger flavor.
  9. The most annoying thing about making soup is the prep work. Cook your potatoes, chop your herbs, and shred your cheese beforehand so, when you’re ready to cook, the rest is a breeze.

Fontina Potato Soup
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 Yukon potatoes
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. + I tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in cool water
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
  • hunks of good bread, for dipping (I recommend Italian or sourdough)

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and cook in microwave on high for 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallots and sautee until translucent and aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  3. Whisking constantly, add the flour and cornstarch. Continue whisking, making sure the roux is free of lumps, until it turns a light blonde color, about 1-2 minutes (you want to cook out the “floury” taste). Pour in milk, whisking constantly until mixture is free of lumps. Cover and let simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  4. When soup is thickened, whisk in the cheeses until completely melted. Stir in the salt and herbs then taste test to decide if you want more cheese or herbs. Add more as desired.
  5. Stir in the potatoes and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

*Melty – (adj) Well-melted; ooey-gooey.

Baked Fontina Dip

This one’s for all the foodies who have ever asked, “Is it socially acceptable to consume mounds of melted cheese and nothing more?” It’s time to fess up; many of us desire to do just that. The good news is, you finally can.

You see, the trick is to be crafty about it. If you melt down a hunk of cheddar and stuff your face into it, you’ll probably get some judgmental looks and sideways glances. However, if you melt together Fontina with olive oil, garlic, and an array of fresh, flavorful herbs, then you’ve got yourself a dip, and dip is 100% accepted by society (…unless it has people it. As Johnny Depp so eloquently points out in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, cannibalism is “frowned upon in most societies”).

This Baked Fontina Dip is delightfully deceiving. It tastes and looks like some fancy fondue, when in all actuality, it’s three simple ingredients melted into cheesy bliss. It doesn’t get much easier than this, nor does it get more indulgent. A dip that’s practically pure cheese is the ultimate way to feed your soul. All you need is a good hunk of bread, and you’re ready to go to town.

If ooey, gooey, melty* cheese sounds good to you, then you can’t pass up this delicious dip. It has tons of flavor from the fresh herbs and garlic, mimicking fondues and dips from the fanciest of Italian restaurants. The best part is, you don’t have to go out to a fancy Italian restaurant to eat it. You don’t even have to exert a significant amount of effort; just pop it in the oven and bake, then get ready to start dipping.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I’m going to be honest: you must keep this dip warm in order for it to remain dippable.* When it starts to cool, it immediately begins to re-solidify, like most fondues do. I recommend serving it in a fondue pot or some other heated serving dish. If you don’t have either of these things, then eat fast!
  2. I adore sourdough bread for dipping in this. You could also do Italian bread or veggies. I don’t recommend crackers or chips though because they won’t hold up to the dip.
  3. If you aren’t into the herbs I used, basil or parsley would be delicious substitutions.
  4. This makes A LOT of dip, so I cut it in half for you. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Unless you’re feeding an army, you don’t need all that cheese!
  5. Got leftovers? Make it into a grilled cheese!

Baked Fontina
Adapted from Smells Like Home; originally adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb Italian fontina, rind removed and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Adjust top rack of the oven so that it sits about 5 inches under the broiler unit. Preheat broiler.
  2. Spread cheese out in the bottom of a cast iron pan or casserole dish.  Drizzle olive oil over the cheese.  Mix together the garlic and herbs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cheese.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the cheese.
  3. Bake for 6 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted through.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface – the pan will be hot!  Serve immediately with bread for dipping.

*Melty – (adj) Melted; a term often used to describe foods that are ooey gooey.

*Dippable – (adj) Having the ideal texture for dipping.