Supermarkets offer busy fondue cooks many shortcuts: a variety of bagged, preshredded cheeses; prepped vegetables; and packaged bread sticks, so dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes. If you have plenty of time to spare, shred your own cheesesa mixture of mozzarella, Fontina, provolone, Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheeses for a total of eight cups.
- 2 ½ cups dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 2 lbs. shredded Italian cheeses
- 2 Tbs. minced sun-dried tomatoes, optional
- 1 loaf crisp Italian bread
- 2 dozen bread sticks
- 3- to 4-qt. combination raw and steamed vegetables, such as baby carrots, bell pepper strips, aspara- gus, broccoli and cherry tomatoes, cut into serving size
- Pour wine into saucepan and heat over low until simmering. Add garlic, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper, and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Mix cornstarch with water, stirring to make paste, and stir into wine. Increase heat to medium and cook until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat to low.
- Combine cheeses and, using generous handfuls at a time, stir into wine until cheese melts. Repeat, adding cheese and stirring until cheese is gone and mixture becomes smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.
- Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot or crockpot and serve. Keep fondue warm over alcohol burner or in crockpot on lowest setting. Serve with accompaniments.
This fondue is an interpretation of the classic Italian salad of mozzarella, fresh basil and tomato. But with a possible blend of so many disparate cheeses in differing quantities, a low-acid, fruit-forward white wine such as a Riesling will be most pleasant here.