Tag Archives: cream

Wine-Braised Chicken w/ Bacon, Veggies & Herbs

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!

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Seafood Corn Chowder

Seafood Corn Chowder

Now that summer is coming to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to make one last dish to celebrate the season. And what would be better than something with fresh seafood and something that requires minimum cooking effort in this scorching weather?

Seafood

I decided to make a delicious Seafood Corn Chowder, chock full of seafood – lobster, scallops, crabmeat, shrimp, fresh corn,

fresh veggies

and all kinds of fresh veggies – multi-colored bell peppers, onions, potatoes, garlic and spices, all cooked in a chicken stock finished with cream and garnished with fresh chives and parsley.

Seafood Corn Chowder 2

I made this chowder in my gorgeous KitchenAid® Professional Seven-Ply 8-Quart Stockpot, which is perfect for making soups, stews, chili, and one-pot dishes for a crowd.

Pour Cream

It’s extra large and made out of multi-layered stainless steel so it’s sturdy and heats up quickly and evenly. It also has optional pasta and steamer inserts, which I love, that fit right inside the large pot and lid. This is definitely one of my favorite go-to pots that I use for everything and it all fits conveniently together with a stainless steel lid to seal in moisture and heat.

Seafood Corn Chowder 3

It’s heaven in a bowl, really.

READ THE FULL STORY & GET THE RECIPE ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG HERE

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Luscious Lobster Pies

Luscious Lobster Pies

 

There’s nothing better in the Summer time than fresh seafood. Lobster is one of my favorites and an indulgence, at that. Lobster Rolls and Lobster Salad are great picnic and backyard BBQ dishes to serve a crowd. But once the end of Summer arrives, I start to crave some comfort food and one-pot dishes for the cooler days ahead.

This is a classic recipe for Maine Lobster Pie, something I made in a recent cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education – it’s a luscious pie made with fresh Lobster meat, cream, sherry and butter (um, not diet-friendly!) topped with a buttery, crispy topping made of Ritz crackers, melted butter, Parmesan cheese and paprika. We made a bunch of pies in small ramekins for appetizers, but you could also make one big luscious pie in a medium pie dish and serve it as a main one-pot course with a salad and some rice or pasta on the side.

It’s perfect for entertaining guests during the holidays, or even just for a homey comforting dinner on a crisp Autumn night. Go on – indulge a little. I won’t tell anyone.

Boil Lobster

 

Cooked Lobster

 

Lobster Meat

 

Luscious Lobster Pies

Yield: Makes 6 appetizer servings, or 1 whole pie.

Ingredients

  • Lobster Pie Filling
  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 ¼ sticks), divided
  • ½ cup good quality sherry
  • Meat from 2 cooked lobsters, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Topping
  • ½ cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Fresh tarragon, chives or parsley, minced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, add sherry and boil 1 minute.
  3. Add lobster and remove from heat. In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, until mixture bubbles; cook at least 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain and reserve the sherry from the lobster meat, then slowly whisk sherry and half-and-half into the mixture until thoroughly blended. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, adjust to desired to taste.
  5. Spoon 4 tablespoons of the sauce into a small bowl. Add beaten egg yolks, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  6. Return egg mixture to sauce and mix well. Whisk constantly over low heat about 3 minutes; do not allow to boil, or the eggs will cook and get clumpy. Remove from heat and add lobster. Turn into four individual ramekins or a small, deep pie plate.
  7. Combine topping ingredients, blend well and sprinkle over pies. Bake about 10 minutes to heat through and until the topping gets crunchy and golden brown. Garnish with some fresh tarragon, chives or parsley, if desired.
  8. Makes 6 appetizer servings, or 1 medium pie.
  9. Recipe adapted from Yankee Magazine
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/09/07/lobster-pie/

 

Lobster Ingredients

 

Butter

 

Lobster and Butter

 

Bechamel

 

Lobster Pie Filling

 

Lobster Pies Ready for Oven

 

Lobster Pies

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Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust

Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust
Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year – if only for the food! Of course, I am so thankful for my amazing friends and family, for doing a job that I love and am passionate about, and for living in a city full of life and new things to discover every day. It’s also a time for traditions, like pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing and all the dressings to go with it.

This year for Thanksgiving I decided to make a Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust – to mix up tradition a little bit from the Pumpkin and Apple pies we always have on our table. Folks, hold on to your seats (or forks!)

The crust is made from an oatmeal cookie mixture crumbled with chopped pecans, butter and brown sugar. The pie filling is a luscious creamy custard filling made of sugar, brown sugar, cream, egg yolks, extra vanilla and a shot of bourbon – and just for a fun, a few more chopped pecans for some texture. It bakes into a lovely crumbly crust filled with a delicious creamy caramel-y filling like you have never tasted before. It reminds me of creme brulee inside an oatmeal cookie with a kick of bourbon to warm up your insides – not such a bad thing, and come to think of it, something to be VERY thankful for. One bite, and you’ll be hooked too. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! (Now let the eating and thanks begin!)

—–

Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust

Mix the sugars and butter
Mix the sugars and butter
Add the egg, beat until fluffy
Add the egg, beat until fluffy
Add oats, flour, baking powder and soda, salt and beat until blended
Add oats, flour, baking powder and soda, salt and beat until blended
Spread oat mixture onto baking pan
Spread oat mixture onto baking pan
Bake oat mixture at 350 until golden brown about 15 mins
Bake oat mixture at 350 until golden brown about 15 mins
Break up oat cookie into chunks
Break up oat cookie into chunks
Crumble oat cookie into fine crumbs
Crumble oat cookie into fine crumbs
Add pecans, butter and brown sugar to cookie crumbles and press into 9" pie dish
Add pecans, butter and brown sugar to cookie crumbles and press into 9″ pie dish
Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet
Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet
Whisk sugars, bourbon, salt and melted butter in medium bowl
Whisk sugars, bourbon, salt and melted butter in medium bowl
Add cream, egg yolks and vanilla; whisk until blended well. Add chopped pecans.
Add cream, egg yolks and vanilla; whisk until blended well. Add chopped pecans.
Pour filling in crust; bake 30 minutes at 350. Reduce heat to 325; bake 20 mins more. Cool 2 hours and chill overnight.
Pour filling in crust; bake 30 minutes at 350. Reduce heat to 325; bake 20 mins more. Cool 2 hours and chill overnight.
Top with sifted powdered sugar. Serve chilled.
Top with sifted powdered sugar. Serve chilled.

Bourbon Vanilla Cream Pie with Oatmeal-Pecan Cookie Crust

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • OAT PECAN COOKIE CRUST
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup chopped pecans
  • CREAM PIE FILLING
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey
  • 1/8 cup chopped pecans
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. OAT PECAN COOKIE CRUST
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a rectangular metal baking pan (13x9x2 inch) with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Beat mixture with electric mixture until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add egg; beat until fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until well blended.
  5. Spread oat cookie mixture onto baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, break up cookie in pan and crumble into a fine mixture.
  7. Add cookie crumbles to a large mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar and chopped pecans, mix well and transfer cookie mixture to a 9 inch glass pie dish.
  8. Spread cookie mixture evenly into pie dish up to the sides and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  9. CREAM PIE FILLING
  10. Whisk both sugars, salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Add melted butter and whisk until blended.
  11. Add cream, egg yolks, vanilla, bourbon and chopped pecans and whisk until well blended.
  12. Pour cream pie filing into cookie crust and bake pie for 30 minutes until filling gets bubbly.
  13. Reduce oven to 325 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  14. Cool pie for about 2 hours on a cooling rack.
  15. Chill uncovered or loosely tented with foil in the refrigerator overnight.
  16. Sift powdered sugar over the top of the pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve chilled.
  17. Garnish with some bourbon infused whipped cream, if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/22/bourbon-vanilla-cream-pie-with-oatmeal-pecan-cookie-crust/

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Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup

Last year in January, it was cold, dark, rainy, and downright miserable and depressing. Not to sound negative, but we all know that’s what winter in NYC can feel like at times. ENDLESS. I pretty much hibernated away in my apartment, and decided I needed to entertain myself somehow – what better way than to cheer myself up with some homemade creamy tomato soup?

When I was a kid, I used to love staying home sick from school – why? My Mom would wrap me up under blankets on the couch and make me a grilled cheese sandwich smothered in Campbell’s tomato soup in front of the tube, which made the misery of being sick almost OK (and kinda fun!) – and to this day, I still crave this combo for a cozy day on the couch at home.

This recipe is sure to warm you up with its creamy roasted tomato flavor. Serve it with some grilled or toasted bread with olive oil and herbs or mini grilled cheese bites for dipping in the soup (or smothering!) and maybe even a glass of red wine to warm you up even more.

Maybe Spring can wait a few more months after all.

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs fresh heirloom or vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fines herbes (parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable, if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 c heavy cream or half and half

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until tomatoes are soft and skins are dark brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, remove skins from tomatoes and garlic and discard.
  3. Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over low heat. Add butter, shallots, fines herbes and salt and pepper, saute until the onions are soft. Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic, chicken or vegetable broth and tomato paste and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. After 20-30 minutes, puree the soup with an immersion blender in the pan, or remove from pan and puree in a blender and pour back into the pan.
  5. Stir in heavy cream or half and half, blending thoroughly. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a sprinkle of fines herbs (or julienned basil leaves).
  6. Serve in soup bowls with crusty garlic herb bread (or over a grilled cheese sandwich on a plate!) and a glass of red wine.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/10/06/roasted-cream-of-tomato-soup/

Tomato-Soup-1

Other Tomato Soup recipes you may enjoy:

Kalyn’s Kitchen Tomato and Cilantro Soup

Michael Chiarello’s Homemade Tomato Soup 

Pioneer Woman’s Sherried Tomato Soup

Michael Symon’s Blue Cheese and Tomato Soup via The Amateur Gourmet

Average Betty’s Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

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A Taste of Martha’s Vineyard: Black Dog Tavern’s Clam Chowder

On Labor Day weekend I fell in love. With Martha’s Vineyard, that is. And an amazing clam chowder from a famous little place called The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven on the harbor. The Black Dog’s story began in 1971 on the beach in Vineyard Haven when Captain Bob Douglas opened an 88 seat restaurant named for his beloved black dog. The tavern has grown from a small island haunt to a nationally renowned restaurant with stores and merchandise branded in the Black Dog Tavern name. No trip to the Vineyard is complete without a meal at The Black Dog, especially to try their infamous Quahog (Clam) Chowder that’s been on the menu since 1971!

Black Dog Tavern ChowderQuahogs are hard shell clams, different from soft shell clams, otherwise known as “steamers”. This recipe is from The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook that I acquired on my recent trip. It is fairly easy to make, and a little more time consuming if you are using fresh clams but totally worth the effort for that fresh flavor. It’s rich and creamy, has a touch of thyme and paprika and lots of delicious clams, potatoes, celery and onion making it the perfect chowda’ for a Fall afternoon.

Serve with crusty bread, oyster crackers or croutons and a glass of white wine or a locally brewed ale. Now all you need is the gorgeous view of Martha’s Vineyard harbor to make it a true New England experience!  Oh, and stay tuned for the full report and photos of my Boston and Martha’s Vineyard Labor Day weekend trip. More foodie fun to come! Enjoy.

A Taste of Martha’s Vineyard: The Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowder

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 oz salt pork, rind removed (or 8-10 slices of bacon, diced)
  • 2 c diced onion
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 3 c diced potatoes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 c shelled quahogs with juice - 6 lbs in shell (or use jarred whole baby clams)
  • 1/2 c salted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 qts. light cream (or 1 qt heavy cream + 1 pint half and half)

Instructions

  1. Dice the salt pork or bacon and saute in a large pot until translucent. If using bacon, saute over high heat until cooked through, then drain fat except for 2 tbsp. and return to the pot. Add the onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of the clam juice and add the potatoes and seasonings. Simmer the mixture until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it is bubbling, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. This is called a "roux".
  4. Roughly chop the quahogs, reserving any liquid (if you use whole baby clams you can skip this step).
  5. When the potatoes are tender, add the quahogs to the large pot and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the roux and continue simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This is your chowder base.
  7. In a separate saucepan, scald the cream by heating it on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.
  8. Stir in the hot scalded cream into the chowder base, mix together, and remove from the heat.
  9. At The Black Dog, they serve it topped with croutons and a dollop of butter, accompanied by oyster crackers or crusty bread. Garnish with paprika and enjoy!
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2011/09/24/a-taste-of-marthas-vineyard-the-black-dog-taverns-quahog-chowder/

Dice the salt pork or bacon and saute in a large pot until translucent. If using bacon, saute over high heat until cooked through, then drain fat except for 2 tbsp. and return to the pot. Add the onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes.

Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of the clam juice and add the potatoes and seasonings. Simmer the mixture until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Roux

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it is bubbling, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. This is called a “roux”.

Roughly chop the quahogs, reserving any liquid (if you use whole baby clams you can skip this step).

When the potatoes are tender, add the quahogs to the large pot and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in the roux and continue simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This is your chowder base.

Scalded Cream

In a separate saucepan, scald the cream by heating it on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.

The Black Dog Tavern Quahog Chowder

Stir in the hot scalded cream into the chowder base, mix together, and remove from the heat.

B.D. Quahog Chowder

At The Black Dog, they serve it topped with croutons and a dollop of butter, accompanied by oyster crackers or crusty bread. Garnish with paprika and enjoy!

Serves 8 to 10.

The Black Dog Summer Vineyard Cookbook

The Black Dog Tavern Martha's Vineyard

The Black Dog Tavern Martha's Vineyard

The Black Dog Tavern

View of Martha's Vineyard harbor from The Black Dog

The Black Dog Tavern

More Clam Chowder Recipes you may enjoy:

Thick and Creamy New England Clam Chowder – Food.com

Epicurious Clam Chowder Recipe

Dave Lieberman’s Clam Chowder

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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 Zabars 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, real cream, prime European butter, smoked thick cut bacon and of course, imported Italian pasta and this was a recipe for a mean Mac and Cheese.

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.

Artisanal Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

4 slices of bacon or prosciutto, cooked and crumbled
5 ½ tablespoons butter
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
cheese, grated, plus ½ cup for cheese sauce
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 ½ tsp Kosher salt
Fresh ground white pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cayenne
1 ½ cups Gruyere or Comte, grated (from 5 ½ ounces)
1 cup Fontina, chopped into small pieces
½ cup Mascarpone
cheese
1 ½ cups dry pasta (macaroni, penne or your choice)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the water into a 3-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cook the bacon or prosciutto, drain and crumble and set aside.

Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the breadcrumbs and ¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss well, and set aside.

Put the remaining three tablespoons butter in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt it over low heat. Add the flour and cook for five minutes, whisking constantly, being careful not to let the flour burn. Pour in the milk and cook for five minutes, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the salt, white pepper, Gruyère, Fontina, Mascarpone and ½ cup of Parmesan cheeses, dashes of nutmeg and cayenne, and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat.

Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, approximately 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce. Add crumbed bacon or prosciutto and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Pour the macaroni mixture into an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 30-35 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley.

Serves 4 as a side dish. For a main course, double the recipe, serve with a green salad and a glass of wine.


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