Happy Holidays! A few of my favorite holiday recipes

Happy Holidays
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Happy Holidays

Well the holidays have finally arrived – my favorite time of year! I love having some time to rest and relax and enjoy quality time with friends and family, especially around the table sharing delicious food and wine. So to celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holiday recipes that I’ve created over the years – either for myself or a few of my clients (KitchenAid, Colavita and Seven Barrels), that I wanted to share with all of you. From appetizers, to salads, to desserts, entrees and cocktails, they all have that special magic touch perfect for the holidays.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what some your favorite holiday recipes are too – feel free to post them and share a link below, and if you want to share my recipes online please include a link back to my site and credit to Kristen Hess / The Artful Gourmet and @artfulgourmet on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr).


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous and prosperous New Year 2017!

 

BloodOrangeCake_StrawberrySauce

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Chocolate Sauce 

PumpkinPearTart

Pear and Pumpkin Tart

Mini Holiday Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Holiday Tarts

Roasted Squash Salad

Roasted Squash Salad with Spiced Pecans

Holiday Brunch Strata

Holiday Brunch Strata

Almond Cookies

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

Maple Walnut Pie

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Swedish Meatballs

Braised Swedish Meatballs

Butternut Squash Ricotta Tart

Three Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon

Choc Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Truffled Pancetta 3 Cheese Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic

Whiskey Sour and Stuffed Mushrooms

Holiday Cocktail Party! Appetizer and Cocktail recipes 

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Bites

Brussels Sprouts

Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Balsamic

SpinachSalad-Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

ChocolateChipotleShortRibs

Chocolate Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage & Summer Veggies

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Ah, it’s almost the end of Summer and I keep thinking, where has it gone? Along with Summer comes lots of fresh veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and yellow squash that I just can’t get enough of!

Colavita


I recently received a lovely care package from my client Colavita, who sent me some delicious pasta, sauces, olive oils and vinegars to sample, which inspired me to make this Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Fusilli pasta with sweet Italian sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. I sautéed everything in Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil with a splash of Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar for some extra sweet and tangy flavor.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

I used their Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed in to the pasta and veggies along with fresh oregano and basil. AND it has three (3!!) cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy – all baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Look. At. This. Cheesy Baked Pasta Goodness. YUM.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

It’s the perfect dish for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner – and is great served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread (dipped in Colavita olive oil and vinegar of course!) Enjoy!

Cheesy Baked Pasta w/ Sausage and Summer Veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8

This is a tasty and healthy twist on traditional Baked Ziti, using Colavita Rotini pasta with Italian Sausage and lots of colorful summer veggies like zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic! It also features Colavita Tomato Basil sauce mixed with three cheeses: ricotta, parmesan/asiago and mozzarella to make it super creamy and cheesy baked into a big pot of bubbly goodness. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner served with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Colavita Fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Chardonnay White Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-16 ounce jar Colavita Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan/Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (about 9 minutes for al dente), drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook sausage until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside.
  4. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add squash, zucchini, mushrooms and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add the cooked sausage back into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ricotta cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  7. Place the cooked pasta in a large pot and add the sausage-veggie-tomato sauce mixture, stirring well. Fold in the ricotta-egg-herbs mixture until thoroughly combined.
  8. Spoon the pasta mixture into an 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan/Asiago cheese evenly over the top.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes, serve hot with a green salad and crusty Italian bread.

Notes

You can also substitute Colavita penne, shells, farfalle or ziti for the fusilli pasta.

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Sausage and Summer Veggies

Colavita has a great line of Italian gourmet food, olive oils, vinegars, pastas,  condiments and other specialty foods, which makes them one of my favorite brands for quality Italian cooking.

Check out their Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and Instagram pages for more great recipes and cooking ideas!

Note: I received complimentary products from Colavita but was not compensated for this post. All photos, copy, recipes and opinions are my own. Please do not share, distribute or use any content without my permission.

Favorite Game Day Recipes for the Super Bowl!

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superbowl 2016

So the big day is right around the corner..Super Bowl, yay! I’m not really partial to either team and am not even a huge football fan, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE the Super Bowl simply because of the fun parties, the commercials, and the food and drinks, of course.

So in spirit of the football party season, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite game day recipes that are perfect for a crowd. Finger foods, appetizers, dips and spreads and small bites to party in style! Stay tuned later this week for some fun cocktail ideas for the big game too..may the best team win! #gopanthers #gobroncos


#FOOTBALL #FOOD!

Sloppy Joes

Devishly Good Sriracha Jalapeño Honey Sloppy Joes

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Amazing Macaroni and Cheese

Parmesan-Garlic-Artichoke-Dip

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Taco Pizza

Seriously Delish Taco Pizza

Spicy Cajun Chili

Spicy Cajun Chili

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Meatball Madness!

Meatball Madness!

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizza

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Mini Tarts

Sweet and Savory Mini Tarts

Chic Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Orange Tart

Glazed Chocolate Orange Tart

Click here to find some more great celebrity chef #recipes to celebrate the Super Bowl on NFL.com

And some more game day recipe ideas on Food Network!

The Most Popular Posts of 2015 :: Happy New Year 2016!

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2015 Happy New Year

So here it is, the last day of the year 2015..oh how time flies, and so much has happened! I’m so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities that have come into my life and the lessons learned along the way.  Here are some of my Top / Most Popular posts from The Artful Gourmet blog this year — and wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year 2016!

Neapolitan Pizza


The Secrets to Making Neapolitan Pizza like a Master Pizzaiolo –http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/08/11/neapolitan-pizza-making-with-the-pros/

Crab Salad

Refreshingly Light Get in My Bikini Salad – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/21/refreshingly-light-get-in-my-bikini-crab-salad/

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/11/02/classic-comfort-food-beef-stroganoff/

Homemade Rustic Pizzas

Homemade Rustic Pizzas: Chicken, Spinach, Garlic & Sundried Tomato Pizza & Pepperoni, Ham & Sautéed Veggies Pizza – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/10/02/homemade-rustic-pizzas-chicken-spinach-garlic-sundried-tomato-pizza-pepperoni-ham-sauteed-veggie-pizza/

holiday dinner menu

An Intimate Gathering Holiday Dinner Party Menu: http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2010/11/28/an-intimate-gathering-holiday-dinner-party-menu/

Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Rochester-Style Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/03/17/rochester-style-chicken-french-lemon-broccolini/

Mario Lopez & Avocados from Mexico

Food Styling for Mario Lopez and Avocados from Mexico – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/12/17/food-styling-mario-lopez-avocados-mexico-nbc-live-bethenny-shows/

pasta fagioli soup

Big Pot O’Goodness: Pasta Fagioli – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/12/11/big-pot-o-goodness-pasta-fagioli/

Truffle-Pancetta-3Cheese-Pasta

Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta with Pancetta and Garlic – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

BDTChowder

Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowderhttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/09/24/a-taste-of-marthas-vineyard-the-black-dog-taverns-quahog-chowder/

Asparagus-Garlic-3-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three Cheese Tart – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

Spicy Cajun Chili
Spicy Cajun Chilihttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/09/spicy-cajun-chili/

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/13/shrimp-scampi-pasta/

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Pizza with Cauliflower Crusthttp://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Recipes Worth Sharing Cookbook

Recipes Worth Sharing: A Collection of Favorite Regional Recipes – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/21/recipes-worth-sharing-a-collection-of-favorite-regional-recipes/

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2013 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/04/07/top-ten-things-i-love-spring-2013/

Southern Feast

A Dose of Southern Comfort & Down-Home Recipes – Part 1 – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/08/a-dose-of-southern-comfort-down-home-recipes-part-1/

spicy fish tacos and wine

Cool off with some Spicy Fish Tacos & Summer Wine Pairings – http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/01/cool-off-with-some-spicy-fish-tacos-summer-wine-pairings/

Hope you enjoyed these posts and looking forward to sharing more fun stories with you in the New Year!

Wine-Braised Chicken w/ Bacon, Veggies & Herbs

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Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies & Herbs

As the weather cools down in the late fall season, there’s nothing I love more than cooking a big one-pot comforting dish on a Sunday afternoon. One-pot dishes are so easy to make, and the enticing smells from the oven are enough to wipe out any winter blues that might be coming on. Welcome my Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies and Herbs. 

KitchenAid 6 Qt Ceramic Dutch Oven


I love making hearty braised dishes with meat and vegetables because they’re easy and so good, especially in my KitchenAid® 6.0Qt Cast Iron Cookware. It’s big enough to make a meal for a crowd, and it’s enameled with cast iron inside which makes it the perfect vessel to cook slow braised dishes, roasts, stews, soups, chilis and any one-pot meals. It even has a grill pan inside the lid! How cool is that?

Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies and Herbs

My Wine-Braised Chicken has tons of goodness inside: chicken thighs, shallots, bacon, cipollini onions, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, bacon and carrots. It’s slow-cooked into a big pot of deliciousness with white wine, chicken broth, and then a reduced  au jus cream sauce served over the top.

Wine-Braised Chicken with Bacon, Veggies and Herbs

This is such a delicious and easy recipe to make and it’s pure comfort food perfect for a chilly Winter day. The best part is you only have to cook and clean in one pot, which is awesome. (More time to snuggle under the blankets and watch movies by the fireplace!)

I’d love to hear what you would make in your KitchenAid® Cast Iron Cookware by experimenting with my recipe. Would you use a different meat, like beef or pork? What vegetables would you substitute or add? Would you try a different sauce for the recipe?

Share your take on this Wine-Braised Chicken recipe on the KitchenAid Instagram page using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured!

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE AND STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

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Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 


It’s finally Fall (Yay!) and football season is in full force which means fun tailgating and parties with friends mixed with lots of delicious football party food and drinks! My favorite time of year.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

I’ve partnered with Mission Foods to create a delicious Game Day recipe for serving a crowd with their awesome flour tortillas, and I present to you my Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 

It’s made with ground beef and taco seasoning, onions, garliccorn, jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, beef broth and LOTS of cheese, all baked in layers of spicy, cheesy, ooey-gooey goodness with the flour tortillas in a 9-inch pie pan. Then it’s served cut into wedges and topped with some fresh green onions. You can also serve it with some sour cream and cilantro for extra garnish, if you like, on the side.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

 

I love making casseroles and one-pot dishes in the Fall, and especially for parties with friends because they’re easy to make and easy to transport and serve, and they are usually a huge hit on the food table! This one will disappear fast so you might want to double the recipe for a big crowd – trust me!

Group8_Soft_Flour_Tortillas

I’m also hosting a giveaway for my readers to win 2 packs of Mission Foods Tortillas – all you need to do is leave a comment and your email below telling me how you would use the tortillas to make a delicious recipe for your Fall Football party! A winner will be chosen at random.

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Hope you enjoy my super yum recipe and enter for a chance to win tortillas to make your party more delicious and fun too!

Mission Foods Football Party Food

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole

Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole for Game Day!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 wedge

This Beef Enchilada Tortilla Casserole is a super easy and tasty dish to make for Football season! Made with Mission Foods flour tortillas, all layered with a spicy enchilada beef, mixed with onions, garlic, corn, tomatoes, broth and jalapeño and lots of cheese in the layers and on top! Garnished with scallions, sour cream and cilantro if desired...and DIG IN!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes and juice (or 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 large Mission Foods flour tortillas
  • 1 6-ounce package shredded Mexican Blend cheese (Colby, Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion to pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes until browned and crumbled.
  3. In a separate medium saucepan, melt the butter and sauce the garlic for 1 minute until lightly golden, sprinkle with flour and stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  4. Add broth, taco seasoning, tomatoes, corn and jalapeños to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add 1 1/2 cups of the tomato-corn-jalapeno mixture to the cooked ground beef and onions in the large saute pan, mixing together and reserving the rest for the top layer of the casserole.
  7. In a 9-inch pie plate, place 1 tortilla on the bottom. Top with 1 cup of the beef mixture, and sprinkle with a layer of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with the 4th tortilla on top.
  8. Spread the reserved tomato mixture over the tortilla and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  10. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with sliced green onions, and sour cream and cilantro (if desired).

Notes

You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef. For a large crowd, I suggest doubling the recipe to make two casseroles as this one will disappear fast!

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STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS

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Check out Mission Foods website for all their great products!
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Disclosure: I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Mission Foods. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences. #spon

 

Crazy Good: Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta w/ Pancetta & Garlic

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Truffle-Pancetta-3 Cheese-Pasta

I can’t remember the first time I tried anything made with truffles, but now and then I find myself lusting after these delicious things – let me tell you why..

Truffles have an intoxicating scent and flavor that is indescribable, and make any dish the most delicious thing you will ever experience in your lifetime. I’m not even a huge mushroom fan, but truffles somehow induce euphoria every time I taste or smell them. Unfortunately truffles are pricey, and usually reserved for a special occasion or night out but I felt the urge to splurge and make this dish on an ordinary night, just because. I used a White Truffle Oil in this recipe, which is really just an olive oil infused with the essence of the truffle flavor. If you have the budget to buy some real truffles, feel free to shave some of these beauties straight into the dish. Or you can also use a Truffle butter which has pieces of truffle in it in place of the olive oil.


The nutty, savory and buttery truffle flavor goes perfect with the trio of parmesan, sharp cheddar and mascarpone cheese, making a luscious creamy sauce for the pasta. The pancetta gives the pasta a nice smoky flavor with less fat than regular bacon, and the garlic and onion give it another layer of awesome flavor. You could also substitute mushrooms or spinach in place of the pancetta to make this a vegetarian dish. Topped off with some golden brown buttery crumbs then baked to perfection, and you’ve got a truly divine, grown up pasta dish that will blow your Mama’s Mac and Cheese away.

Oh, and be prepared to swoon upon first bite.

————

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and saute pancetta over medium-high heat until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Sauteed Pancetta

Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another minute.

Sauteed Onions, Garlic and Red Pepper

Stir in 3 tbsp of butter and let melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute to make a roux (thickener for the cheese sauce). Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk and simmer until sauce thickens (stirring often) for 5 minutes, and then remove pan from heat.

Three Cheese Sauce

Whisk in cheddar, mascarpone and parmesan cheeses until smooth, and add a little more milk if the cheese sauce seems too thick. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cayenne and a dash of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and remove from heat.

Crumb Topping

In a medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and stir through so that the butter coats all the crumbs, and they turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Toasted Breadcrumbs

Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh or dried parsley, set aside.

Pasta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13×9 casserole or glass baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente for 5-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and shock with cold water.

White Truffle Oil

Place pasta into the casserole dish and coat with the truffle oil.

Add Pancetta to the Pasta

Toss in the cooked pancetta…(mmmm!)

Three Cheese sauce

Pour in the cheese sauce…(dreamy!)

Baked to Perfection

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Heaven on a Plate

Let cool for a few minutes, and dig in! (you’ll never be the same).

Crazy Good :: Truffled 3-Cheese Pasta w/ Pancetta & Garlic

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

This is a luscious cheesy pasta dish made with three cheeses, crispy pancetta and truffle oil. Perfect comfort food for a Winter day. And oh so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 slices of pancetta, chopped
  • 1 c. of onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 2 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 8-8.8 oz container mascarpone cheese
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Dash of sweet paprika
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 4 tbsp white truffle oil
  • 1 lb. tube pasta (macaroni, penne, rigatoni, or your choice)

Instructions

  1. Make the Cheese Sauce:
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp of butter and saute pancetta over medium-high heat until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another minute.
  4. Stir in 3 tbsp of butter and let melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute to make a roux (thickener for the cheese sauce). Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk and simmer until sauce thickens (stirring often) for 5 minutes, and then remove pan from heat.
  5. Whisk in cheddar, mascarpone and parmesan cheeses until smooth, and add a little more milk if the cheese sauce seems too thick. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, a dash of cayenne and a dash of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and remove from heat.
  6. Make the Crumb Topping:
  7. In a medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and stir through so that the butter coats all the crumbs, and they turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh or dried parsley, set aside.
  9. Make the Truffled Pasta:
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13x9 casserole or glass baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente for 5-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and shock with cold water.
  11. Place pasta into the casserole dish and coat with the truffle oil.
  12. Toss in the cooked pancetta...(mmmm!)
  13. Pour in the cheese sauce...(dreamy!)
  14. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  15. Let cool for a few minutes, and dig in! (you'll never be the same).

Notes

You can also use any pasta you like, but make sure to use something with ridges or curls to catch all the creamy cheesy sauce. Substitute a veggie for the pancetta such as spinach or mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Pasta Favorites, 2010.

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