If You look into bakers’ windows in Bologna, you may see trays of golden cubes that look like croutons. They are used mainly for soup, but they are not croutons: They are a much tastier, baked composition of flour, Parmesan, butter, eggs, and nutmeg. It is one of those specialties that have remained strictly local, like Romagna’s spaetzlelike passatelli, and that no one elsewhere seems to know about.
As you will find in the serving suggestions below, zuppa imperiale not only makes a fine soup, when used with a good broth, but also a light pastalike dish, or even tidbits to munch with drinks.
The cubes alone can be used as one of an assortment of hors d’oeuvres served with apéritifs. After baking the batter and cutting it into cubes, put it back in a 300° oven to toast for 10 minutes or so. It can be served then, or later at room temperature.
To serve as a pasta course: Before baking, spread the mixture more thinly over the cookie sheet than you would when making it for soup. Bake only 4 minutes. Cut into strips ¼ inch wide and about
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