I never knew. It isn't even actually a recipe, but it turns out to be a specific process called "Fromage Fort", traditional and French. I've been making this multi-purpose cheesy thing for some time, and now I have a name for it-thanks to Jacques Pepin. His great big coffee table book,Traditions and Rituals of a Cook, is not only very pretty, but actually full of good information, recipes, and engaging stories.
M. Pepin's father's process for this appetizer/condiment/supper dish is more picturesque than my own. When J. Pepin was a child, his family did not have a fridge. Perishable food was stored in a "Garde Manger", which, chez Pepin, was essentially a wooden box, kept in the coolest possible spot. The dried out ends of cheeses accumulated there, along with everything else that had to be chilled.
When the urge struck him, Pepin Sr. would sort out the odd bits of leftover cheese of all sorts, and trim off any moldy spots. He cut it all up into a covered container, ladled some hot soup over it, and left it for days to soften. Once it was softened, he'd mash it all up with a little wine and some garlic, pack it into a crock, and it was ready to go- as a topping with crackers, baked in little mini-crocks for a first course, or spread on baguette slices and toasted. You can make a toasted panini thing, layering it with ham between two slices, and cooking it with a press, possibly dipping the sandwich in beaten egg before toasting, for extra fanciness.I especially like to munch my version, plain, with radishes.
I would be far too cowardly for this original method, which, though perhaps more flavorful than the modern version, fills my brain, however unjustly, with images of festering, possibly deadly itty bitty organisms. I note that Pepin Jr. and his wife currently use a food processor, which is also my weapon of choice. This eliminates the necessity for prolonged stewing.
Basically all you have to do is put your assorted leftover cheese bits*- hard and soft, in a food processor with some chopped garlic cloves- a little pepper and a bit of dijon mustard if you like, and process it with enough dry white wine to make a thick paste. The amount of wine you need will vary, depending on the ratio of hard to soft cheese. Pack it in a crock or two, and refrigerate for a day or so to let the flavors settle , and then you are set to go.
You can freeze this stuff, and it keeps quite well in the fridge, too. Toasted, baked, or just spread on a bit of crusty bread, it's a nice thing to have around. And, you know,it's making something out of nothing. Waste Not, Want Not.
Not really a recipe, as you can see. And it is very likely that you have already made something similar. This is the sort of thing that I like to be told about myself, just ordinary kitchen sense really. We can happen upon these ideas from just hanging around a kitchen, or read about them. A friend can tell us something nice that they do with their leftovers, and especially if is simple, it might be of lasting use. I like these sorts of ideas even better than the best of special recipes. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter.
*I would not include an actual parmesan rind, as these are too valuable to be lost in the mix-one dried out parm rind adds so much pizazzz to a pot of minestrone or potato soup.