Treasured Recipes from the Past: Classic Summer Side Salads

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Gram's Recipes

Summer is my favorite time of year – family picnics, outdoor BBQs, trips to the park or lake, birthday and graduation parties and alfresco dining on the back patio. On a recent trip home to visit my family, I found a treasured recipe book of my Grandmother’s family recipes that I grew up with and I couldn’t resist sharing some of them with you.

Grams Recipe Book

I found a few classic summer side salads that are perfect for an outdoor picnic or BBQ – fresh, tasty and most of all they remind me of home when my family made these for our own Summer parties gathered around the table. In fact, the Broccoli Salad was such a hit that it made it to TWO parties in one week! Enjoy. (and stay tuned for future posts with more of my Grandma’s recipes!)

Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches fresh broccoli
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Sunflower Seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut raw broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Cook bacon until crisp and crumble. Add onion and raisins. Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together and add to other ingredients. Garnish with sunflower seeds. Must be made the night before. Stir occasionally to blend flavors.
  2. Note: Peel broccoli stalks and then cut into thin slices and add to the other mixture. Dressing may seem dry but don't add extra as it will get mushy from moisture in the broccoli while marinating.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/07/10/treasured-recipes-from-the-past-classic-summer-side-salads/

Antipasto Salad
Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium shells or rotini pasta
  • 1/2 pound provolone or fontina cheese
  • 1/4 pound hard salami
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1 small jar green or kalamata olives
  • 3 tomatoes (sub Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cider or wine vinegar
  • Fresh basil or oregano leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni. Cut provolone, salami, and pepperoni into small bite size pieces. Slice olives. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Chop onion, pepper and celery. Combine all ingredients, toss and chill overnight. Add provolone cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan, basil or oregano leaves just before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/07/10/treasured-recipes-from-the-past-classic-summer-side-salads/

 

Italian Potato Salad
Italian Potato Salad

Italian Potato Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium Salt or Red Potatoes, skin on and cut into halves or wedges.
  • 1 can drained green beans
  • 1 sliced large red or vidalia onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water and drain, cool and set aside. Cut cooled potatoes into halves or wedges and add green beans and onion. Drizzle mixture with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a small amount of balsamic vinegar, to taste. Add salt and pepper, oregano or Italian seasoning, and blend well into the salad. Let salad marinate in the refrigerator and serve room temperature garnished with green onions.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/07/10/treasured-recipes-from-the-past-classic-summer-side-salads/

 


Summer in a Bowl: Vodka Cream Sauce Pasta w/ Fresh Basil, Mozzarella & Sundried Tomatoes

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Summer Pasta w/ Vodka Sauce, Fresh Basil, Mozzarella & Sundried Tomatoes
Summer Pasta w/ Vodka Sauce, Fresh Basil, Mozzarella & Sundried Tomatoes

There’s a great little place in my neighborhood called Todaro Bros. – a small, locally-owned deli and grocery store that sells fresh and imported Italian food and other gourmet groceries. I usually stop in at least once a week to peruse their cheese department and sample some of their fresh house-made mozzarella, just for kicks (it’s that good!).

Basil-Mozzarella-Pepper
Basil-Mozzarella-Pepper

It’s impossible to walk in there and just buy one thing – I’m like a kid in a candy store! So I found these gorgeous sun-dried tomatoes marinated in herbs and oil and picked up some fresh basil, oregano, chives, tomato sauce, cream and pasta to make a fresh, tasty summer pasta dish. I made it with spaghetti but you could serve this tasty Vodka Sauce with virtually any pasta you wish. It’s tangy, velvety and full of flavor, and the fresh basil gives it a peppery flavor which is rounded out by the creamy fresh mozzarella and sweet sun-dried tomatoes. I also threw in a few pieces of crumbled cooked bacon into the sauce to give it an extra layer of flavor (which is totally optional but also totally worth it!)

Summer Pasta w/ Vodka Sauce, Fresh Basil, Mozzarella & Sundried Tomatoes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small shallot, diced
  • 3-4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • 6-8 marinated sun-dried tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 quart tomato sauce (store bought or homemade, pureed smooth)
  • 1 cup of vodka
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh unsalted mozzarella, torn into medium pieces, for garnish
  • fresh basil leaves, whole or torn, for garnish
  • red pepper flakes (optional), for garnish
  • 1 pound package of cooked and drained pasta (spaghetti, linguine or penne)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan according to package directions (until al dente) and drain (reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water for later); set aside. Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat for about 15 minutes until crispy, drain and crumble.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or pot. Add garlic and shallots, saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add crumbled bacon and sun-dried tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste. Saute for an additional 5 minutes and turn heat down to medium-low.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce and vodka into the same saucepan and let simmer (approximately 20 minutes) until the sauce thickens and cooks down. Stir in the heavy cream, fresh oregano and chives and let simmer on low for another few minutes until sauce is heated through.
  4. Return the pasta back to the large saucepot and ladle some of the sauce into it, along with a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water and toss to coat.
  5. Ladle coated pasta into serving dishes and top with additional vodka sauce. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, mozzarella, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/20/summer-in-a-bowl-vodka-cream-sauce-pasta-w-fresh-basil-mozzarella-sundried-tomatoes/

Summer In A Bowl.
Summer In A Bowl.

Top off the pasta with chunks of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, coarse Mediterranean sea salt and fresh ground pepper…and you’ve got Summer in a Bowl.

Loveliness.
Loveliness.
Basil
Basil
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh.
Fresh.
Yum.
Yum.

YUM.

—–

Other Vodka Pasta Recipes you may enjoy:

Emeril’s Pasta with Vodka and Sausage

Pioneer Woman’s Pasta alla Vodka

Rachel Ray’s You Won’t Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta

Tamarind Shrimp Soba Noodles

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Tamarind Shrimp Soba Noodles
Tamarind Shrimp Soba Noodles

This is a typical Asian dish with warm, smooth and bright flavors. Soba noodles are typical Japanese noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flours (you can find soba and most of the ingredients in this recipe in any Asian store, Kaluystan’s in NYC, Whole Foods or online).

The velvety flavorful sauce is semi-sweet and made with tamarind concentrate and coconut milk, infused with bright tangy Asian flavors – lime, red Thai chili, crispy shallots, mint and fennel seed. The shrimp are grilled to perfection (you can also sauté them if desired), then tossed with the Soba noodles and sauce to make a light, refreshing dish for Springtime. Garnish with cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews or diced mango for some extra layers of flavor.

Ingredients

2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
36 shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup tamarind concentrate (or use paste dissolved in coconut milk, strained)
1 cup coconut milk
4 Keffir lime leaves (or 1 tablespoon lime zest)
1 red Thai chile, diced
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
½ cup rice vinegar

½ pound buckwheat soba noodles
3 tablespoons sesame oil

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, diced mango

Preparation

Heat a 6-inch sauté pan over a medium heat and add the oil and shallots. Cook the shallots until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Shrimp Tamarind Mixture
Shrimp Tamarind Mixture

In a small bowl, mix the tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Add the shrimp, lime leaves or zest, chili, mint, garlic, fennel seed, rice vinegar and crispy shallots together and let marinate for at least 1 hour up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Tamarind Coconut Sauce
Tamarind Coconut Sauce

Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the soba noodles. Immediately add a cup of cold water to the pot. When it comes back to a boil, drain the noodles. (You can also sauté the noodles in some sesame oil after boiling and draining them, over high heat to crisp them on the bottom before serving).

Shrimp on Grill
Shrimp on Grill

Heat a 10-inch sauté pan or a grill over high heat, cook shrimp for 6 minutes.

Grilled Shrimp
Grilled Shrimp

Pour the marinade into a 2-cup sauce pan and bring to a boil, and reduce until thickened. Return the reduced marinade to the shrimp and divide the noodles among plates (or a large serving platter for the table), and serve the shrimp with sauce over the warm noodles.

Garnish with desired toppings: cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, cubed mango.

Serves 6.

Adapted from recipe by Richard Ruben, Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Institute of Culinary Education.

 
Soba

—–

Similar recipes you may enjoy:

Epicurious Coconut Shrimp with Tamarind Ginger Sauce

Chipotle and Tamarind-Glazed Shrimp

Soba Noodles in Sesame Ginger Sauce with Grilled Veggies

Camille Cooks Sauteed Shrimp with Tamarind and Soba Noodles

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce

Shrimp Scampi Pasta
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Shrimp Scampi Pasta

The temperatures are rising and the sun is shining which means one thing – Spring is finally here. For me, that means lighter flavors, fresh herbs, fruits and veggies from the farmers market, and seafood, seafood, seafood.

Ingredients

I decided to make a lovely Shrimp Scampi Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce that is fresh, light and fairly simple to make (not to mention absolutely scrumptious!)

Sauteed Shrimp in Lemon Butter Sauce

I found some fresh, succulent jumbo shrimp and sautéed them in butter and olive oil with garlic, making a bright, velvety lemon butter sauce by adding lemon juice, lemon zest, and some white wine. I added a little extra butter into the sauce, threw in a few scallions and fresh garlic, and topped it off with some fresh parsley and a pinch of cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it some extra flavor and kick. If you want to make the sauteed shrimp and skip the pasta for a lighter dish, go for it – it’s totally amazing on it’s own or with a salad and some crusty bread (and a glass of white wine to accompany, of course!) Enjoy.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta in Lemon Butter Sauce

Yield: 4

This is a perfect dish for Summer, featuring sauteed shrimp in a lemon butter sauce, served over fettucine with fresh parsley and garlic.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sauce
  • 3/4 pound fettucine (or linguine, angel hair, spaghetti)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp (about 12 jumbo or 16 large shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 large scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated for sauce plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Garnish: parsley, lemon zest, red pepper, salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Drizzle the vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
  2. Prep all ingredients (chop garlic, parsley, green onions, zest and halve the lemons and squeeze juice, measure out oil, lemon juice, wine, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes).
  3. Melt butter and olive oil in another large pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add parsley, lemon zest, wine, lemon juice, lemon slices, scallions and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Stir and remove from heat.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked pasta and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve with additional chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with a glass of white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) and a green salad or crusty bread.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/13/shrimp-scampi-pasta/

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

 

An Interview w/ Italian Chef Pia Vallone :: Spring Vegetable Soup Recipe

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Pia Vallone / Mascarpone Mousse
Chef Pia Vallone / Mascarpone Mousse with Almond & Cookie Crumb

I love Italian food. I mean really loooove Italian food.. And who doesn’t? But especially authentic, homemade Italian – cooked with fresh ingredients and simple, healthy recipes that are downright divine. I recently took a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City with Chef and Culinary Instructor Pia Vallone, who teaches the Techniques of Italian Cooking course. It was a 5-week intensive class 6 hours long. Lots to learn in a short amount of time. Chef Pia, a native of Italy and graduate of ICE, taught us a a variety of recipes from different regions of Italy spanning the basic recipes and techniques.

Wild Boar Ragu w/ Matriaciani
Wild Boar Ragu w/ Matriciani

We made fresh pasta and risottos, hearty ragus and fresh and creamy sauces, roasted and braised meats, seafood dishes, soups and stews,

Baked Tomatoes with Oregano / Baked Shrimp with Garlic, Parsley & Crumbs
Baked Tomatoes with Oregano / Baked Shrimp with Garlic, Parsley & Crumbs

roasted and braised vegetables (my favorites were the Roasted Tomatoes and Stuffed Wine-braised Artichokes), desserts such as Classic Tiramisu, Mascarpone Mousse and Rustic Italian Apple Crostata,

Radish, Spinach, Romaine and String Bean Salad
Radish, Spinach, Romaine and String Bean Salad

and healthy, fresh Italian salads and small plates.

Making Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi
Making Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi

We always had red and white Italian wine and fresh Italian bread to accompany, and learned the customs of eating the way the Italians do – start with an “antipasti” (appetizer), next order a “primo” (first course usually consisting of pasta, risotto, minestrone or other soups), then pick your main “secondi” (second course usually a meat or fish dish), have a small bit of “formaggi” (cheese) after your main, then on to “dolci” (sweets/desserts such as cheese, fruit, sweet wine, and coffee/cappucino).

Sage Brown Butter
Sage Brown Butter

We made some of the most amazing Italian food during this class and learned classic authentic cooking techniques that I was able to bring home with me to prepare my own delicious Italian food. In fact, I was so impressed with Pia’s class that I had to interview her to share her culinary background and story along with a recipe with all of you! Enjoy.

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about your culinary training and professional background? What was your first job as a Chef and what was that like?

My first and only hands-on restaurant experience was in an Italian restaurant in London (cannot remember the name of the restaurant), near Victoria Station, in the summer of 1978. A friend of mine who worked as an executive chef there, offered me a job as a sous chef. After a month of hard work, I had to leave the restaurant, because my visa was about to expire and soon after, I returned to Italy. The second experience related to food, was working for several years as a bookkeeper for a restaurant and corporate catering. There I learned so much about food and was exposed to new ingredients and flavor profiles, although I worked in the establishment’s office. As for training, I graduated from The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC and hold a Culinary Arts diploma and a Pastry and Baking Arts diploma. I currently work at ICE as a Manager of Kitchen Assistants and as a Recreational Chef Instructor, though I have worked in different areas in the company, within the past 10 years.

  1. When did you realize you wanted to be a Chef? Who inspired you most as a young cook and what did you learn from them?

I always loved cooking and eating, but I began to spend time experimenting with recipes from various kinds of cuisines in my home kitchen, cooking for friends when I arrived to New York in 1980. Wanting to get involved with food and becoming a chef was a second career change for me, which began in 2001.

 My greatest inspiration was my father, who was a gourmand and a terrific cook. I spent many hours in the kitchen with him during my childhood, helping out, observing him and absorbing all the knowledge I could. From my father, I learned passion, love and appreciation of good food and the importance of using fresh ingredients.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your culinary style and what makes your menus and recipes unique?

My style is mainly rustic. I like rustic food for its simplicity and because it is nourishes the body and soul. My menus and recipes are unique, because the ingredients I use are accessible and inexpensive.

  1. Is there a difference in the recipes you create/the food you eat in Italy versus the Italian food here in the United States and what are the main differences?

The difference between food in Italy and food here…? Food in Italy is extremely fresh, mostly organic and seasonal. Its flavor(s) cannot be replicated in dishes cooked outside of the Country. Food in Italy is also quite simple. In fact, most of the best food I have ever eaten there was prepared with just a few ingredients. On the contrary, Italian American food is the result of ‘imported’ traditions and transformations, mostly due the immigrant’s longing for the ‘Old Country’. Immigrants, who arrived here tried to capture flavors and freeze memories, by utilizing similar ingredients grown in a different terroir. Nowadays though, great Italian chefs live here in the States, so the differences between Italian food in Italy and the US is narrowing down.

  1. In your opinion, what are the most important elements when creating a recipe from scratch?

The most important elements are: fresh ingredients, simplicity and focus, Make sure to tastes the food while cooking it.

  1. What is your signature dish or your favorite recipe?

My favorite dish is ‘Roman Style Tripe’, a dish that brings back childhood memories.

  1. What is your favorite spice or ingredient to cook with and why?

I love black pepper, which I use in all savory recipes. Besides liking its pungent flavor, I add it to dishes because it helps improve digestion.

  1. What is your favorite cooking gadget or kitchen item you can’t live without and why?

I own many gadgets and often buy the new ones that are the latest invention in the market, but always tend to use the familiar ones over and over. A gadget I cannot live without is a hand held grater, because it is efficient and does not use too much space in the kitchen.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs and home cooks?

Start by cooking a simple recipe, one with 4 or 5 ingredients. Learn basic skills and techniques at first and then move on to a larger repertoire. Patience, practice and repetition are important to achieve success with cooking, as with other things in life.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

Yes. I am always looking to inspire others to cook. It is a pleasure to see that people are interested in cooking and familiarizing themselves with ingredients. Sharing passion for food and cooking with people is an all-around relaxing experience for me.

Spring Vegetable Soup
Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup

Yield: serves 6

2 small carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
1 small butternut squash, diced
1 bunch escarole, chopped
½ cup peas, frozen
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for bread and for drizzling on soup
4 quarts chicken stock
1 small ciabatta bread
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

  1. Sauté carrots, celery and onions in a large stock pot over medium heat, for approximately 5 minutes, making sure that you stir the vegetables while they cook.
  2. Add chicken stock to the pan. Increase the heat to high, cover the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Slice bread into 1” thick slices. Brush slices with the additional olive oil on both sides and place in a sauté pan over low heat. Turn bread slices once and cook until they are golden brown. Place bread in a tray and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Add butternut squash to the stockpot and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and peas to the stockpot and cook for 3 more minutes.
  6. Add escarole, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for 4 additional minutes.
  7. Remove two ladles of soup from the stockpot and puree in a blender, then return the pureed soup to the pot (the puree will thicken the soup). Stir and cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
  8. Add some grated cheese into the soup and stir. Ladle soup in individual bowls, drizzle oil and sprinkle additional cheese.

Recipe Copyright © Pia Vallone 2010.

Photo credits: Kristen Hess and Pia Vallone. 

California Dreamin’ :: Chicken, Wild Mushroom & Fontina Cheese Lasagna

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Room with a view
Room with a view

On a recent trip to San Diego with a group of friends, we made an awesome dinner one night, and definitely one to remember. We rented an amazing house right on the ocean at Mission Beach that had gorgeous views of the sunset  – –

Sunset
Sunset

a huge round disk of bright orange, yellow and red hues sinking into the horizon – absolutely breathtaking..

Chicken, Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Chicken, Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagna

My friend (Paula) showed up with a delicious recipe for Chicken, Spinach & Wild Mushroom Lasagna (by Daniel Boulud) which was an amazingly creamy, savory dish to die for! The lasagna is made with a creamy base of sauteed celery and onions, white wine, nutmeg, flour and cream mixed with fresh spinach, wild mushrooms (we used Chanterelles but you can use any mix of wild mushrooms you prefer) and chicken breast. We topped off the lasagna noodles and chicken and mushroom mixture with several gooey layers of Fontina and Parmesan cheese, and baked it into a bubbly pot of goodness in the oven.

We served it with some Parmesan-Garlic Crostini and a green salad, and of course a few bottles of white wine to accompany. Daniel Johnnes, wine director of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants suggests choosing a wine from the Campania region of Italy, such as the 2009 Fiano di Avellino from Feudi di San Gregorio ($19). An alternative is Occhipinti SP68 IGT Sicilia Bianco 2009 ($26). Both of these choices are medium bodied with bold flavor and a soft texture.

Noodle Slap
Noodle Slap

**Note*** Men should definitely stay out of a female-dominated kitchen to avoid a big noodle slap when making a dish as good as this! Enjoy 🙂

Parsley and Fontina Cheese
Parsley and Fontina Cheese
Chicken-Mushroom-Spinach
Chicken-Mushroom-Spinach
Lasagna Ready For Oven
Lasagna Ready For Oven
Parmesan Garlic Crostini
Parmesan Garlic Crostini
Rooftop Sunset
Rooftop Sunset

Oh, and don’t forget the rooftop with great friends and an amazing view to top it all off. We had such an awesome time I’m already planning my next visit back to this gorgeous beach..

Dusk, Mission Beach San Diego
Dusk, Mission Beach San Diego

Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming about that fiery red glowing sunset… 🙂

California Dreamin’ :: Chicken, Wild Mushroom & Fontina Cheese Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 medium onions, diced fine
  • 2 celery stalks, diced fine
  • 1 pound wild mushrooms (chanterelles, black trumpet, hen of woods), trimmed and washed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound spinach leaves, torn and washed, no stems
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra grease to pan
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 16 dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound of Fontina cheese, diced or cut into medium-thin slices
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Prep all vegetables (chop onions, celery, spinach, mushrooms, parsley), cut up chicken and pat dry.
  2. Measure out all wet and dry ingredients (wine, cream, milk, flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper, grated Parmesan).
  3. Cut Fontina cheese into small dice, or medium-thin slices for layering.
  4. Sauté celery and onions with salt and pepper over medium-low for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper, cook until wilted and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and reserve.
  5. Add butter to same pot, adjust heat to medium. Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper, add to butter. Cook stirring 6 minutes until chicken is browned. Add wine, simmer until almost reduced. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and cook, stirring for 5 mins, allowing flour to coat the chicken and absorb the liquid.
  6. Gradually stir in cream and milk, scraping pot, stirring with a whisk to break up cooked flour. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, allow liquid to thicken. Reserve 1 cup of liquid and remove pot from heat, add cooked mushroom and spinach mixture. Add parsley, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cook lasagna noodles 8 mins in salted water. Drain and rinse in cold water. Toss with 2 tablespoons EVOO.
  8. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 baking pan. Layer 4 noodles on bottom. Top with 1/3 chicken mixture and 1/3 Fontina cheese. Repeat layers twice, finish with layer of noodles. Spread reserved sauce over noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (can put in fridge or freezer at this point, tightly covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap).
  9. Cover with foil or lid and bake for 30 minutes. Increase heat to 400 degrees and remove foil and cook until golden brown and bubbly, another 10-15 mins.
  10. To make the Parmesan Garlic Crostini:
  11. Slice a loaf of Italian bread into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and drizzle with olive oil, shredded Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crunchy.
  12. Sprinkle the lasagna with chopped parsley, some extra grated cheese if desired, and serve with the parmesan garlic crostini.

Notes

Serve with a leafy green salad with a vinaigrette dressing, some crusty garlic bread and a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

The lasagna can be made a day ahead to save time, just keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap of foil and pop it in the oven when ready to bake.

Freezes well too - wrap in plastic and foil in individual portions and reheat in the microwave or oven.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/05/04/california-dreamin-chicken-wild-mushroom-fontina-lasagna/

 

Fabulous Food Finds @ NY Restaurant & Food Show

Grand Queso, Wisconsin Cheese
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Int'l Restaurant & Foodservice Show NY
Int'l Restaurant & Foodservice Show NY

Last week I attended the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show in New York City, an annual event put on by the New York State Restaurant Association. The show took place in the massive Jacob Javits Center and was a mecca of amazing food, restaurant interiors and equipment, local and artisan food vendors, master chefs, professional restaurant marketing experts and industry speakers. Highlights of the show were: the New York Wine Expo showcasing some of the top wineries and wine producers from around the world, the Japan Pavillion showcasing the latest equipment, liquors, foods and cooking techniques from Japan, and the New Product Showcase which highlighted some of the newest and coolest food products to hit the market. The Pride of New York showcase had amazing local and organic food producers and farmers, wineries and snack foods from around New York State.

There was a live Pastry Chef Competition, Master Chef demos by Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt and Chef Kevin Cottle, a Healthy Foods Pavillion, Ultimate Barista Latte Art Challenge, and the best part – Gourmet Row which was an endless row of delicious food suppliers, producers and vendors showcasing and sampling all of their amazing goods. Many of the show’s sponsors had special cooking demos and tastings around the convention center: NespressoNordic Spring Water, Kikkoman and Medallion Foods, Taft Foodmasters, SPE Certified, Marlisa Brown – The Gluten-Free Gourmet, Pastry Chef Larissa Raphael of Telepan Restaurant, Executive Chef Kazutaka from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, talks on restaurant marketing and video by Branding Shorts, and more. Super fun show, and inspiring for Chefs and Restaurateurs alike.

Now for my favorite food finds at the show (see below) *** also check out the SLIDESHOW of more tantalizing food and photos from the show!

GranQueso, Wisconsin Cheese
GranQueso, Wisconsin Cheese

www.eatwisconsincheese.com

Nespresso Zenius
Nespresso Zenius

http://www.nespresso.com

Stella Fontinella
Stella Fontinella

www.stellacheese.com

Karl Ehmer Sausages and Meats
Karl Ehmer Sausages and Meats

www.karhlehmer.com

Gorgeous Pasta
Gorgeous Pasta
Ravioli
Ravioli

http://josephsgourmetpasta.com/ 

Yakisoba Noodles
Yakisoba Noodles

www.twinmarquis.com

Specialty Oils & Vinegars
Specialty Oils & Vinegars
Gourmet Flavored Sea Salts
Artisan Salt Company Gourmet Flavored Sea Salts

www.connoisseurspecialtyfoods.com

Iichiko Shochu
Iichiko Shochu

www.iichiko.co.jp

Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Cake
Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Cake

http://poppletonpastries.com/

Bonewerks Demi-Glaces
Bonewerks Demi-Glaces

http://www.bonewerksculinarte.com/

La Panzanella Crispbreads
La Panzanella Fieri Crispbreads

http://www.lapanzanella.com/

Japanese Carrots
Japanese Carrots
Gourmet Teas
Gourmet Teas by The Teaologist

www.theteaologist.com

Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips & Flatbread Crisps
Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips & Flatbread Crisps

www.aladdinbakers.com 

Pig Roast
Pig Roast

www.buckheadbeef.com

Blue Marble Ice Cream
Blue Marble Ice Cream

www.bluemarbleicecream.com 

Red Jacket Orchards Apple Juice
Red Jacket Orchards Apple Juice

www.redjacketorchards.com

Cowbella Dairy Garlic Herb Butter
Cowbella Dairy Garlic Herb Butter

www.cowbella.com

Ginger Ale 1776 Beverage Co.
Ginger Ale 1776 Beverage Co.

http://www.heartbreakingdawns.com/1776-beverage-co/

EdgyBurgers
Edgy Burgers

www.edgyburger.com

Portal Los Andes Chilean Wine
Portal Los Andes Chilean Wine

Buy online at Valley Wine and Spirits

Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate
Taleggio Cheese - Alma Gourmet Foods
Taleggio Cheese - Alma Gourmet Foods

www.almagourmet.com

Rick's Picks Artisanal Pickles
Rick's Picks Artisanal Pickles

http://rickspicksnyc.com/

Ciro Italian Foods
Ciro Italian Foods

www.concadorofood.com

Gelato and Frozen Pops
Gelato and Frozen Pops
Hammer Stahl Knives
Hammer Stahl Knives
Local New York State Canning
Local New York State Canning

 

Crescenza-Stracchino
Bel Gioioso Crescenza-Stracchino

www.belgioioso.com

Juice Poppers
Juice Poppers

 

Amazing Macaroni + Cheese > There’s No Place Like Home

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Mac and Cheese

So here is my award winning Mac and Cheese recipe that I am proud to share with all of you! I was awarded as a Grand Prize Winner in the Challenge Dairy Real Heritage Recipe Contest for my Amazing Macaroni and Cheese! Although this was a few years ago, I am still so grateful for this opportunity to submit my winning recipe and to be a part of this amazing recipe contest. Check out the story I wrote and winning recipe below, and more contest winners on Challenge Dairy’s website.

There’s No Place Like Home

Growing up I always associated food with a sense of comfort, warmth, fulfillment and stability. This is something I attribute to my Mom’s home-cooked meals and nights around the dinner table with my family as we discussed the events of our day, bonded through sharing the heartwarming, delicious meals together and after the meal was done, cleaned the kitchen with our Mom and bonded by watching a television show together before going to bed and getting ready for school the next day. Mom would make Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, homemade Lasagna with a salad and garlic bread, Grandma’s Beet Soup with homemade Polish potato noodles, or a yummy, savory Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy – these were all of our favorites and also heirloom recipes that were handed down from my grandparents and generations past.

That was a long time ago, or so it seems, and since those days I have lived in numerous cities and another country, and still cherish enjoying good food with good people. But nothing compares to those home cooked meals and the sense of comfort they gave me when I was young – those days gave me a solid ground to stand on for life.

One gloomy, dark day last January, I was cooped up in my tiny New York studio apartment feeling completely miserable from the freezing cold weather and had a serious case of the Winter blues. I felt an undying urge to make a home-cooked meal like Mom used to make to cheer me up and get me out of the dismal mood I couldn’t seem to shake. New York can do that to you sometimes – it is one of the greatest cities in the world, but can also take you to the depths of darkness on those dark, freezing, nasty days in the middle of Winter. That day I decided to go on a quest for comfort. Something warm. Something cozy. Something heartwarming. Something that would fill my soul and renew my spirit.

My head started spinning, and I immediately felt energized and motivated with this new task at hand. What would cheer me up and transport me back in time? After furiously searching through all of my recipes, I found the perfect remedy to ail my blues – a big whopping batch of luscious Macaroni and Cheese. Not just an ordinary one (like the kind you get in a blue box with packets of dried chemical-laden cheese dust), but one that called for some delicious gourmet ingredients to take this kid-friendly recipe and turn it into
a serious pot of adult-sized comfort.

I hopped in a cab to Zabar’s (my favorite gourmet store on the Upper West Side) with thrill and anticipation. The freezing rain was coming down sideways and beat against the windows. Once I arrived, I headed straight for the cheese department and was in my glory with their selection of international cheeses that pierce your nose as soon as you walk in the door. I picked up a creamy Italian Mascarpone, some fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano, a chunk of Gruyere and a block of Fontina. Then I found some fresh garlic, heavy cream, premium real butter, smoked thick cut bacon and of course, imported Italian pasta – this was a recipe for a mean Mac and Cheese. Definitely not your Mama’s.

I prepped my ingredients and carefully crafted my dish of gourmet deliciousness. The pot was brimming with a melted creamy cheese concoction and I poured the luscious ingredients into my baking dish, watching with anticipation as the warm, savory smells filled my kitchen. After an hour of waiting anxiously to savor my creation, I scooped up the bubbly goodness into a bowl and upon tasting the first bite with its brown crispy crust and tangy creamy cheese, was transported back to a time of comfort and bliss, when I didn’t have a care in the world, a simpler time and place that seemed long gone from today in my stressful, fast-paced city life.

Who cares about the weather, I thought – I had arrived. I was home.

Amazing Macaroni + Cheese > There’s No Place Like Home

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Yields 6-8 servings.

Serving Size: 1 cup

This is a super luscious and decadent grown up Mac and Cheese! Filled with Gruyere, Fontina and Mascarpone for extra creaminess, a little cooked bacon and a Parmesan buttery bread crumb topping for extra crunch. Definitely worthy of a special occasion or the holidays to impress your guests!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
  • 5 ½ tablespoons Challenge European Style Butter (salted), divided
  • ¾ cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • dash of nutmeg (? teaspoon)
  • dash of ground cayenne pepper (? teaspoon)
  • 1 ½ cups Gruyere or Comte cheese, grated (3 oz.)
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, chopped into small pieces (5¼ oz.)
  • 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni (6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine, plus extra for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook the bacon or pancetta, drain and crumble and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt 2½ tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss well, and set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, do not let the flour burn. Pour in the milk and cream; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, Gruyère, Fontina , Mascarpone. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente (7 - 8 minutes). Drain the macaroni and combine with the cheese sauce. Add crumbled bacon and parsley; mix well.
  6. Pour the macaroni mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Serve hot immediately and garnish with additional fresh parsley, if desired.

Notes

You can also substitute the meat using some baked ham or prosciutto, or make it vegetarian and just add extra cheese or some veggies like zucchini, squash, brussels sprouts or mushrooms.

This recipe is also delicious with a little drizzle of truffle oil in the cheese sauce or topped with white or black truffle salt as a garnish.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/03/08/amazing-macaroni-and-cheese-theres-no-place-like-home/

Luscious Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sauce

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Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)
Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)

As far as I’m concerned, gnocchi are little pillows of love, goodness and deliciousness. Especially when they are homemade..that is a true labor of love. It’s not that they are difficult to make, but definitely time consuming, but with a little patience the end result is worth the wait! Gnocchi (Italian plural for gnoccho) are basically homemade dumplings that can be made from flour and potatoes, or in this recipe made with ricotta, parmesan cheese and flour. These dumplings have a thick and creamy consistency with grooves for holding a rich sauce made with cream and cheese, or a chunky meat sauce such as a bolognese or a luscious wine and wild mushroom sauce made with porcini, cremini and chanterelles in the recipe below. The gnocchi can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer and then boiled just before serving with the sauce of your choice.

To make the Gnocchi:

2 c ricotta cheese
1 c grated parmesan
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
Sugo de Funghi (recipe follows)
4 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
1 c grated parmesan cheese

Ricotta and parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and parmesan.

Mix flour into ricotta and parmesan

Gradually stir in the flour, adding more if necessary, until a soft dough results.

Knead and form the dough

Turn the dough out and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough becomes sticky while kneading, add more flour.

Divide and cut the dough

To form the gnocchi, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 3/4 inch thick and cut each into 3/4 inch lengths.

Make ridges in the gnocchi with fork tines

Dip a fork in flour, and holding the fork in one hand, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines to form ridges.

Freeze the gnocchi for 30 minutes

Refrigerate the gnocchi for 30 minutes or freeze.

Cook gnocchi until they rise to the surface

To cook the gnocchi, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, stir in 2 tablespoons of salt, and cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well, toss the gnocchi with the sauce. Garnish with tarragon leaves and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Wild Mushroom Sauce (Sugo de Funghi)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
6 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 c chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in Marsala wine

In a medium bowl, combine the dried porcini and Marsala with enough hot water to cover and allow the mushrooms to soften about 30 minutes.

Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid

Strain the porcini through dampened cheesecloth or a coffee filter, reserving the liquid. Rinse the porcini to remove any sand deposits and chop roughly.

Chop the cremini and chanterelle mushrooms

Meanwhile, chop the additional wild mushrooms and place in a large mixing bowl.

Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the cremini, chanterelles and porcini, and saute until cooked through about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomato paste to liquid and mushrooms in pan

Add the tomato paste to the reserved soaking liquid and add this mixture to the mushrooms.

Add stock and bay leaves and seasonings

Add the stock and bay leaves, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer gently until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Add the heavy cream

Add the heavy cream.

Reduce by half

Reduce by half, about 10 minutes

Until sauce is thick and creamy

Until sauce is thick and creamy..

and completely delectable!

and ready to serve over the gnocchi.

Toss the gnocchi with mushroom sauce

Serve the mushroom sauce over the gnocchi. Toss with parmesan cheese and tarragon. Serve with a green salad and a robust red wine. Enjoy!

Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education

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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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/10/25/crazy-good-truffle-oil-pancetta-three-cheese-pasta/

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