Monday 22 September 2014

Reader Recipe: Fondue Italiano

Bunjourno! Tutti a tavola a mangiare! (That means “Hello and welcome to the final week of Caker Cooking’s Reader Recipe Month!") As you might have guessed, I’m pretty fluent in Eyetalian thanks to the trip I took to It-lee at the beginning of the summer.

There are so many things I miss about It-lee. The hand gesturing, the life-or-death thrill of crossing the street, disco dancing with singing sensation Raffaella Carra. So I was over the moon when Jennifer sent me the recipe for Fondue Italiano from her copy of Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking.

Having said that, I have mixed feelings about fondues. For starters, you need company. So strike one for me. And secondly, they can be dangerous. I once had a fondue pot explode! Luckily, it was full of melted chocolate at the time. There are many worser things to pick out of your hair for three days straight.

For those reasons, Mother’s forbidden me to own a fondue pot, so I had to improvise and use a bowl. Be careful when spearing your breadcubes! Mother almost poked my eye out with her chopstick. We really enjoyed the fondue. It was cheesy and meaty and both of us got a little giddy, thanks to the wine. Then we fell asleep before Lawrence Welk came on.

WARNING: This has, like, a lot of cheese. Don’t be surprised if, the next morning, your neighbour asks when you started taking trumpet lessons. I’m speaking from experience.

Thanks, Jennifer! Come back Friday for another reader recipe. We're nearing the end. Hang in there.

½ pound ground beef
½ envelope spaghetti sauce mix
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
12 ounces natural Cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups) (See note 1)
4 ounces natural Mozarella cheese, shredded (1 cup) (See note 2)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chianti (see note 3)
Italian bread, cut into bite-size pieces, each with one crust

In saucepan, brown ground beef; drain off excess fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce mix and tomato sauce. Add cheeses gradually; stir over low heat till cheese is melted. Blend together cornstarch and wine; add to cheese mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Transfer to fondue put; place over fondue burner. Spear bread cube with fondue fork; dip in fondue mixture, swirling to coat. (If fondue becomes thick, add a little warmed chianti.) Makes about 6 servings.

Note 1: As opposed to unnatural Cheddar
Note 2: As opposed to unnatural Mozarella
Note 3: Chianti is an Eyetalian wine. It’s pronounced “Chee-Anty.”

Source: Caker Jennifer via Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking


  1. I love fondue! I'll be in the basement dragging out and dusting off my liquidation world 20 piece fondue set this weekend. I see this recipe serves 6?..... ummm, Iet's just adjust that downward... !

    1. A 20-piece fondue set? You really know how to live it up, Madame M. I don't even know 20 people, let alone inviting them over to put their sticks in my cheese.

    2. Hey, what can I say... if there's fondue a bubblin', it's a party!

  2. I think I would rather eat the Mushroom Fluff than this, based on looks anyway.

    I'll take your word for it that it was edible (hard to go too wrong with a pound of cheese, natural or otherwise) but I can't look at it. I have that cookbook, somehow (thankfully) I missed this recipe. I do like that there's cornstarch and wine to (sorta) hold it together. I am however intrigued by spaghetti sauce mix (I've lived a sheltered life) and will be looking for it. Might be interesting kneaded into dough for breadsticks or something.

    1. Packaged spaghetti sauce is the best thing. You just tear open the package, add it to tomato sauce and voila - instant authentic pasta sauce the way Nonna (never) used to make it.

  3. OK, Mister, let's hear the story of the exploding fondue pot. (Doesn't that sound like it should be a mystery? Nancy Drew and the Exploding Fondue.)

    Details! Details! Enquiring minds wanna know.

    1. It was a long time ago. During my university years. I couldn't afford a stove, so a fondue seemed like a good option. Maybe putting it over a burning barrel wasn't the best of ideas. I should mention I was also wearing fingerless gloves at the time and had a stick over my shoulder with a handkerchief attached to the end.

  4. This is the recipe my mom used, from this very book, every Christmas eve! It's so good.

    1. It's pretty tasty. And cheesy. Glad to hear there's more than one copy of this cookbook in the world.