flavoursome broth with rustic pizza squares
A good bowl of soup is such a comfort food, in any season!
In this case, it is served with a rustic pizza, cut into squares, deliciously flavoured with the distinctive notes of Grana Padano Riserva PDO, aged over 20 months. Thanks to the heat of the hot broth, all the aromatic notes of this great cheese will be enhanced.
For this dish, we use a meat stock, which is then clarified, to make a real consommé, but you can replace it with a good vegetable broth, to which you can add asparagus tips, or peas.
Difficulty
Medium
Serves
8 / 10 people
Preparation time
2 hours
Variety
Pizza and flat bread
Francesca D'Orazio
Ingredients for rustic pizza
7 eggs,
60 g of Grana Padano Riserva, finely grated
40 g of plain flour
5 g of baking powder 
salt
pepper
Butter for buttering the pan
 
Preparation
Heat the oven to 180 ° C.
In a clean bowl, beat 6 egg whites until stiff.
In another bowl, beat the yolks and the whole egg with the grated Grana Padano. 
Sift together flour and baking powder, salt and pepper, and add to the egg yolk mixture.
Fold in the egg whites.
Transfer to a well buttered baking tray (35x25) and bake for about 30 minutes.
Unmould it, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 
Cut into squares of about 1 cm.  

Tip: once cooled, and cut, this rustic pizza can be stored in the freezer, in zip-lock bags. Re-heat by wrapping in the oven parchment for 5-10 minutes.
 
Chicken broth
  • 1 chicken (or hen), well cleaned, 
  • 3 stalks of parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, washed
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 3 peppercorns in grains
  • 5 L of water    
  • coarse salt      
Put all the ingredients, apart from the salt, in a large pot, add water and bring to a boil, lower the heat and continue simmering, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
Halfway through cooking, add a handful of coarse salt. 
After two hours, remove from the heat, leave to cool. Remove the chicken and vegetables. Strain, and keep refrigerated.
The following day, remove the fat layer formed on the surface, strain it again to remove any fat part and impurities and clarify, if you want, by following the procedure explained below. Heat and serve with a part of the rustic pizza squares in it. Serve the rest, and more Grana Padano Riserva, for who would like extras.
 
Cooking tips
How to make a good broth.
  • the choice of meat: chicken, in this case, but also beef or veal, preferring parts with bone.
  • Which cut? Those of the upper part, excellent are parts from the shoulder, the short rib, knuckle and don’t forget a piece like marrow bones, always flavourful. Excellent part is also the knee, which will make the broth particularly tasty.
  • Quantities for a good full-bodied broth: 200 g of meat per liter of cold water.
  • Add a piece or two of celery, 1-2 carrots and a gold onion. Add herbs if wanted.

Bring on the heat and cook slowly.
  • How to cook:  simmer over a very low flame is essential. A foamy part will form on the surface: use a slotted spoon to remove it. Continue cooking always keeping the liquid below the boiling point, to have a clear broth. Halfway through cooking add salt, but not excessively. Once cooked, let the broth to cool as soon as possible. The fat part will solidify on the surface, and therefore will be easy to remove.
  • To have a good boiled meat, the procedure is reversed: start with boiling water and vegetables. The meat is dropped in boiled water, and simmer for hours, depending on the size and quality of the meat. The result is a broth which is less tasty, but still very good, perfect for preparing a risotto.
How to clarify the broth
  • Put 300 g of minced meat in a saucepan, mix with 4 egg whites.
  • Stir with a whisk, pour 4 liters of cold broth into the stockpot.
  • Bring to a boil, wish briskly until full in corporate with the broth. 
  • Lower the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. 
  • Discard the raft from the surface. Strain the broth, using a clean, wet cloth.
Tips for the table
Yellow is one of spring colours. It’s the colour base that I have chosen for this table. 
Few wildflowers, a coloured ribbon to tie the napkin, and immediately the table takes on a completely different look.
A soup tureen with steaming broth that arrives on the table ensures that the Sunday atmosphere is guaranteed.

How to arrange glasses on the table
Usually, on a festive day there is always wine on the table, so we set two glasses, one for water, one for wine.
But how shall we place them?
The water glass goes to the right of the plate, just above the main dining knife. Wine glasses should be set to the right of the water glasses. Sometime the water glass is a tumbler (without stem), in this case it can be placed on the right, to avoid stepping over the tallest glass with the risk of knocking and chipping it.
On a formal table, transparent glasses are always preferable, the coloured ones are more for cheerful and informal settings.

I think there should always be a distinction between a formal table, set for special occasions, or to entertain an important person, and the table set for the family. Both must be always nicely set. It is always important do know and follow the etiquettes, but small exemptions in a family reunion can be acceptable. 

Whether it's water or wine, glasses should never be filled up to the top. Let's say, half, maximum three quarters of the glass. 

The father should always fill the glasses, both of the grandparents, the wife, and of the children (if they are small). It is a good manner, and gesture of etiquette that is often forgotten.

Noises should always be avoided when swallowing or tasting a sip of water or wine. We should always drink in moderation, sipping. Remember, however, also to always clean your mouth with a napkin, before drinking, so as not to get food on the glass

Tips
How to remove stain from your glasses: moisten a piece of kitchen paper with water diluted with white vinegar (in equal parts) and rub on the glasses. They will immediately return shining.
How to store glasses. I keep the glasses that I seldom use upside down in the cabinets, so they don’t get dusty. It is an advice that my mother-in-law passed on to me, which I have treasured for some time. It works very well!
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