Minestrina di Cubetti comes from a divine cookbook called A Private Collection published by the Junior League of Palo Alto, California in 1980. Essentially, it’s a chicken broth with cubes of ricotta-parmesan cheese. And it’s hard to get a good picture of the stuff. A picture of the cookbook, however, is much easier to get.
The recipe for Minestrina di Cubetti is from the first Private Collection cookbooks which was originally published in 1980. My copy is the 7th edition from 1986. It is a hardback book with dustjacket in good condition; the dustjacket is showing signs of normal wear especially at the corners.
Search for these cookbooks online and you’ll run into rave reviews. I’ve tried a handful of recipes and have to say that I’m not blown away. And despite this recipe having an interesting ricotta-parmesan combination, it still let me down.
This tries to be an elegant soup. In fact, the cookbook says “It may be served at a formal dinner of many courses or at the beginning of an elegant luncheon.” I have never hosted an elegant luncheon. Ever. Frankly, there is nothing ‘elegant’ about this – it’s a standard chicken broth with a little something interesting added.
Now, don’t let that dissuade you.
These little cubes are a fabulous way to use up leftover ricotta cheese. Say, for example, if you make lasagna that’s a total success (or failure, as was my case.) Mix the half pound of ricotta with an egg, an egg yolk, salt, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese. Pour it into a prepared pan.
Then treat it like a cheesecake and bake it in a water bath.
Cool, cut, and you’ve got your ricotta-parmesan cubes, err, cubetti.
The recipe called for serving these in a chicken broth. It was interesting, let’s say. Not gonna make it again.
But, why let that stop you?
These little cubes might be fabulous in a salad. Replace your boring and traditional croutons with ricotta-parmesan cubes.
Oh, and they little babies freeze well, too. Just let them come to room temperature before adding to your salad or soup.
While the little cubes were intriguing in a bowl of clear broth, I think they’d be a better additional to a hearty minestrone.
Cheese squares, hearty soup. Could be good, right?
- ½ pound ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- grating of nutmeg
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2-3 quarts chicken broth
- parsley, minced
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Beat the ricotta for several minutes for a more refined texture. Add the egg, egg yolk, salt, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese. Blend well with a rubber spatula and spread in a buttered, 8x8 inch glass baking dish.
- Place the baking dish, uncovered, in a larger pan filled with 1" hot water. Bake until firm, about 45 minutes.
- Cool the ricotta completely, then cut into very small cubes; the smaller the cubes, the more elegant the soup. This may be prepared several days in advance, keeping the cubes covered and refrigerated. When ready to use, the cubes should be at room temperature.
- To serve, fill a warmed tureen with piping-hot chicken broth and add the cheese cubes. Sprinkle with a little minced parsley on top.