Every so often there is a recipe I like so much I want to find new things to do with it. So it is with the Savory Doughnut post. Known as bomboloni in Italy, the dough for these treats can be savory or sweet. It is one of the easiest yeast doughs I have ever put together, so one night when we had some of my taco meat left over, I thought about using it for a pizza. The bombolini crust seemed like a natural for a deep dish type of crust. I wondered what else I could come up with and the beignets and asiago bread soon came to mind.
While the pizza and beignets each take one half a recipe of dough, the asiago bread uses the whole recipe. The recipe can’t be scaled back any further but you can always freeze one half if you aren’t going to use it right away.
So call them savory doughnut dough or bomboloni, this dough has just been turned into a pizza, beignets and bread. Who knew?
Continue reading Who knew? Bomboloni Pizza, Beignets and Asiago Bread
What could be a better gift for Mom than Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast and Berries with Orange Cream Sauce served in bed? Add a flower in a vase and coffee or tea, whichever is her favorite, and you have a memorable Mother’s Day. The Berries with Orange Cream Sauce was a post from 3 years ago that I updated for this special holiday. It is easy enough that older children can make the day before if desired. Just warm is slightly to bring it to room temperature before combining it with the fruit. The Orange Cream Sauce is based upon the sauce I make for Crepes Suzette.
I actually thought of making the French toast with croissants but when I went shopping but then, I found this charming cinnamon bread and instantly changed my mind. Lightly sweetened cream cheese highlighted with a bit of orange zest to accentuate the sauce is an easy embellishment to plain French Toast.
To make the day perfect, don’t forget to clean the kitchen. I can’t think of anything worse than having to clean up after such a wonderful treat. Great job for the kids!
Berries with Orange Cream Sauce - please go to Berries with Orange Cream Sauce and combine 3/4 cup of each of the berries with the sauce. Serve over the Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast.
Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast
6 ounces cream cheese (1/3 less fat is fine), room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
16 slices cinnamon bread
3/4 cup milk, whole or 2%
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter as needed
Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange zest. Mix completely. Spread evenly on 8 slices of cinnamon bread. Top with remaining 8 slices of bread. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs until completely blended. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Dip each cinnamon bread sandwich into the mixture on both sides letting it sit in the egg mixture a couple of minutes on each side to soak in the liquid. The time it sits in the mixture will depend upon how fast the bread soaks it up. You don’t want the bread to disintegrate in the liquid.
Place a pat of butter into a non stick pan. Heat to melt but do not brown. Place sandwiches in the hot pan. Saute until golden; flip over and sauté the other side.
Serve with the Berries with Orange Cream Sauce.
Serves 4 with 2 sandwiches per order.
With graduations, picnics and holidays in the offing for spring and summer, this Pasta Salad with Artichokes, Red Peppers and Asiago Vinaigrette is the perfect side salad. It was one of the most popular side salads we offered at the retail shop. Making this pasta salad even better is the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation as well as the intensity of the taste. The dressing definitely has more than a hint of garlic, so if you are not a garlic fan reduce the amount. I like garlic as a background taste in dishes but would never even consider the garlic festival! However, I love this dressing – maybe because of the asiago cheese.
This recipe uses several convenience items to speed things up. I don’t mind using prepared items (think mayo and mustard – would anyone make these anymore?) as long as they are quality and contribute to the recipe. The artichokes used in this pasta salad are canned and quartered. Artichoke hearts also come frozen but truth to tell I prefer the taste of the canned ones. The frozen can be substituted if desired. There are products used in the restaurant industry that aren’t available to consumers. One of them is diced red peppers. If you can’t find these, use diced pimentos since they are simply diced red peppers without the glamour of saying red peppers.
Lastly, one other thing to recommend this pasta salad is it’s safety factor. This pasta salad goes to picnics perfectly as it can sit out without fear of leaving it too long.
Other side salads you might also enjoy are, Greek Tomato Salad , Capanota, and Mediterranean Orzo Salad. So fire up the grill, invite the guests and enjoy a get together with the help of one of these salads.
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon (scant) red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated sharp asiago cheese
With the processor running, drop the garlic down the feed tube to mince. Mince well. Add the red wine vinegar, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt to processor bowl. Pulse to mix. Combine the olive oil and vegetable oil. With the machine running, pour the oil slowly down the feed tube. Continue processing for about 10 seconds. Add the asiago and pulse several times to mix well. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
Alternately, chop the garlic finely continue as above but whisk instead of process.
6 ounces canned diced red pepper or pimentos, well drained
1- 15 ounce can artichoke quarters, well drained
1 pound uncooked penne pasta
Julienne the zucchini. Place all but the pasta in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain well. Place the pasta in the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Cool to room temperature, stirring several times. Chill.
Serve chilled or room temperature.
Yield: About 12 cups
Several years ago we went to went to the Epcot Wine and Food Expo. I have to admit I came away with quite a few ideas, some of which I have already shared. The Kalua Pork Sliders were one we went back to several times. Although inspired by this recipe, I have simplified it. Pulled Pork on Brioche Rolls with Pineapple Chutney makes a perfect sandwich with the added bonus that everything can be done ahead of time.
We both use Brioche but mine is a straight forward brioche. The recipe here is from an article I wrote for Bon Appetit Magazine many years ago called, “Sixty Second Brioche”. It was also included in my first book, “The New Pastry Cook.” It is one of the easiest breads you will ever make and I highlighted this version with sesame seeds. The finished dough is more of a batter and it has to be chilled overnight to make it workable because it is very soft and sticky and room temperature. The brioche utilizes a sponge, which is a mini dough, to increase the amount of rising power used without increasing the dry yeast. This step is used with yeast doughs that have a lot of fat (think eggs and butter) which slows down the yeasts ability to rise. The butter must be very cold so it cuts into the flour without becoming a paste. The rolls can be made ahead of time and frozen.
The Pineapple Chutney with ginger and red pepper accents the pulled pork perfectly. The original Kalua Pork Sliders were served with a spicy mayonnaise. I chose to omit that but if you prefer to use the mayonnaise go to, Crispy Fried Onion Rings for the Chipotle Mayonnaise. If you wish to speed this up, you can certainly substitute half size dollar rolls.
Although these are made as the little sandwiches, sliders, they can certainly be made on regular size buns.
Continue reading Kalua Pork Sliders
This Kentucky Bourbon, Chocolate and Pecan Pie is otherwise known as Derby Pie and it is served during Kentucky Derby time. It seems that name is trademarked and the company who owns it aggressively goes after anyone who uses it. So Kentucky Bourbon, Chocolate and Pecan Pie it is.
If you have never had this, run, do not walk, to buy the ingredients and start baking. Not wanting to buy a entire fifth of bourbon or whiskey for this recipe, I found airline bottles of several different liquors at my grocery store. One is ideal for this recipe. Actually, you can make 2 Kentucky Bourbon, Chocolate and Pecan Pies out of one bottle and that may be just fine with you. I never knew chocolate and bourbon could go together so well.
The pie crust is my single American Pie Crust which I posted earlier. It is a traditional flaky crust that is just perfect for this pie. It needs to be pre-baked to insure that it bakes all the way through with the filling in it. To keep the crust from shrinking, it is lined with foil and then weighted with dry beans. I like to use lima beans because they are large and heavy. You can use the beans over and over by cooling them completely and storing in a covered jar. This is very much a southern pie and related to to its more famous cousin, the Pecan Pie. Continue reading Kentucky Bourbon, Chocolate and Pecan Pie
Orange Almond Teacake or Madelienes are a quick to make, very special treat that can be baked several ways.
Please go to http://www.flourmewithlove.com/2013/04/orange-almond-teacake-or-madelienes.html to view a guest post I did for Flour Me with Love.
These praline caramels are one of those happy accidents that comes from just enough knowledge. I had to make New Orleans pralines to smash up and top the Banana Caramel Tarts (go to www.europeantarts.com to see the tart). I found a recipe for New Orleans Praline Pieces on www.epicurious.com that sounded like just what I needed. I researched a couple more, added a few items to the ingredient list and was all ready to go. I had made pralines before and I remembered they always seemed grainy after they set up. So, in an attempt to make them less grainy or not grainy at all, I decided to replace some of the sugar with clear corn syrup as it is an invert sugar and helps reduce crystallization in sugar.
So out comes the pot and in goes everything except the pecans. The butter melts, a candy thermometer is clamped on and the bubbling mass cooks to a temperature of 236 degrees. I removed it from the heat and cooled it to 220 as instructed. Removing the thermometer, I then proceeded to stir like a mad woman, added the pecans, stirred even faster and poured the mass into a prepared 9×9 pan to cool. After hours and hours of cooling it looked like I was successful in making praline caramels with pecans in them. Now I am in no way complaining – they are sensational! But they never got hard like pralines nor became opaque like pralines. Continue reading Praline Caramels
This version of Stuffed Eggplant Parmigiana takes this favorite of meat lovers and vegetarians alike to new heights. Ricotta cheese highlighted with pesto and asiago cheese is sandwiched between two slices of eggplant. The breading has more cheese added to the breadcrumbs along with some herbs.
At the shop, we would make a white sauce for the fettuccine then place the eggplant on top of it and finish it with marinara sauce. This time I have updated it by omitting the white sauce and the results are just as good for this stuffed eggplant parmigiana. Continue reading Stuffed Eggplant Parmigiana
My LA son, Eric, first alerted me to a PLT – a bacon fried pastrami, tomato and lettuce sandwich. So one day I decided to have those with my cumin honey coleslaw. What a supper, I thought – Bacon Fried Pastrami with Cumin Honey Coleslaw on the side. But as I was going along making these, I had an ah-ha moment. Ditch the lettuce and use the coleslaw on the sandwich. What a sandwich!
Make sure you grill or toast the bread on both sides as the coleslaw is somewhat wet with dressing and it will soak through if the bread is not well toasted. You also need to select a sandwich bread with a lot of body. I used Pepperidge Farm Sourdough Sandwich bread although excellent choices would be marbled rye or a dark rye bread.
While the coleslaw has a lot of ingredients for the dressing, you just toss them together and add the shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix. I would suggest you add the dressing a bit at a time since you want a wet coleslaw for the salad but not a dripping one.
Be sure to eat these over a plate with plenty of napkins. While not a dainty sandwich this Bacon Fried Pastrami with Cumin Honey Coleslaw sandwich is one of the best you’ll find.
Continue reading Bacon Fried Pastrami with Cumin Honey Coleslaw
Beinets, crullers, bomboloni and zepole are all some form of doughnut. And Americans love them! The newest form capturing the fancy of doughnut lovers is the savory doughnut. They are appearing in all the best restaurants usually stuffed. At Tony’s we stuff them with the best Gorgonzola and serve them with prosciutto and a drizzle of excellent virgin olive oil.
But savory doughnuts can be filled with any cheese that will get oozy when fried. I chose Italian Fontina for its creaminess and served it on a salad of spring greens, crispy panchetta, strawberries and dates with a lemon vinaigrette. Brie and bacon would be another great combination.
The dough couldn’t be more simple. Yeast is dissolved in warm milk. Just enough flour is added to make a loose batter which is covered and allowed to rise until doubled and very bubbly which takes about an hour. More flour, and egg, salt, sugar and a bit of butter are added to make a batter like dough which takes about another hour to rise. At this point, it is easiest to refrigerate overnight as it is an extremely soft, somewhat sticky dough to shape right away – much like brioche. Continue reading Savory Doughnuts
Whenever I am asked what a savory tart is, the Torta Rustica comes to mind first. Layers of vegetables and cheese encased in an Italian butter pastry that is easy to make and roll out without all the cautions of an American crust makes this not only good but easy. Torta Rustica simply means Rustic Tart in Italian. The spinach layer is highlighted with onions and asiago or parmesan cheese with eggs to bind it. Roasted red peppers and artichokes, both canned are layered along with provolone cheese.
The torta is from what the Italians refer to as cucina fresca, meaning room temperature. It should be served warmed but not hot. While it will freeze, it takes forever to thaw. If frozen, our recommended method for our customers was to let it thaw in the fridge for a couple of days, wrap it in foil, leaving the top somewhat open and heat it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Continue reading Torta Rustica
If you’ve never worked with spaghetti squash, you have really missed a great no fat, low calorie fun food. ThisSpaghetti Squash Casserole features this squash as an entree instead of its usual role of side dish. The squash, when cooked, can be pulled with a fork and is identical in looks to spaghetti.
I find it impossible to cut this squash uncooked. So, I simply put it on a piece of parchment or foil that has been sprayed and bake it. After it cools a bit, I cut it, scrape out the seeds and turn it into spaghetti. The direction you cut the squash yields a different result. If the squash is cut crosswise the strands will be long just like spaghetti.
If it is cut lengthwise, the strands will be shorter but I find them easier to eat and to use.
By omitting the sausage from this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, you have a great vegetarian entrée. Continue reading Spaghetti Squash Casserole
As a really picky eater when I was a child, Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread (almost) was one meal my mother could always count on me eating. She made the best bean soup in the world and always served it with homemade bread. Mom made really good bread, but I don’t recall her making rye bread. I love rye bread and this is a not too heavy lighter rye bread that goes together really easily. I make it the day before I make the soup and refrigerate it after its first rise. Then it just has to be shaped, risen and baked so it is fresh with the soup.
It is necessary to use dry beans and not canned. The beans have to be soaked to soften them so it doesn’t take so long to cook. There are several ways to soak them. They can be covered with water, and the vinegar, which keeps gastric distress to a minimum and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and let them sit for one hour, after which you make the soup. This results in a longer cooking time. A second method is the one I use. I put the dry beans in a pot and add about five or six inches of water. I do this before I go to bed and in the morning they have swelled immensely which shortens the cooking time almost in half. The beans on the left are dry and the ones on the right have been soaked overnight. You can see how much water they absorbed and how they swelled. Continue reading Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread
These apple fritters are a speedy version of a doughnut with apples in it. The fact it is not a yeast dough makes this come together really quickly with a bowl and a whisk. I divided the batter into two bowls and used Gala apples in one and Granny Smith in the other. The testers (my husband and myself!) decided the Granny Smiths gave the most apple punch for your money. The liquid used can be milk, water or beer. I like to use beer because it gives a bit more lift to the batter. There is no perceptible taste of beer – which can be good or bad, depending upon your opinion of beer!
Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger can all be used to flavor the the apple fritters. I used nutmeg because I love it, but use anything or nothing as you choose. Continue reading Apple Fritters
Easy Shrimp and Lemon Risotto is a quick version of the classic method of making risotto. I chose it for this Valentine’s day because the holiday falls on a Thursday, making it difficult to cook an elaborate meal. Since the risotto is going to be finished in the oven and the dessert I am suggesting can be done ahead of time, all you have to do is get some good bread and make a salad. You can be ready to share this special dinner in less than an hour.
Risotto is one of the most versatile dishes around. It goes from side dish to main dish with the addition of seafood or vegetables effortlessly. I know the traditional method of adding a bit of liquid at a time, but most of us don’t have the luxury of standing in front of the stove, adding and stirring for a half an hour. I know I don’t.
So I cooked it as I would any other rice I cook and it came out beautifully – creamy, cheesy with a hint of white wine. The ratio of liquid to rice is much higher – that is not a mistake in the recipe. Arborio rice is a high starch grain of Italian origin. The individual grains are shorter and fatter than any other rice and absorb a lot more liquid. This is the rice that gives risotto its creamy texture. The day I was testing this, I called my boss, Vince Bommarito, Jr. at Tony’s for the risotto talk. He said, “it is important to cook the rice through and through so the rice is completely cooked but not mushy.” I don’t think I can do any better for advice, do you? Continue reading Easy Shrimp and Lemon Risotto
Watch for next week’s post on Monday, February 11. Since Valentine’s Day is on Thursday of next week, I wanted to give you enough time to head out for ingredients and to make the dessert ahead for this quick and easy Valentine’s Dinner.
Hot Cross Buns are the harbinger of Easter and Spring. Most available during Lent, these rolls are made with fragrant spices that fill your house with an aroma that makes you want to jump in the oven with them.
The other traditional ingredient in Hot Cross Buns is raisins. A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to “baker’s raisins” and I have used them ever since when baking. They require no soaking to plump them as do most regular raisins. That not only reduces prep time but doesn’t introduce additional liquid into your recipe which is why I love working with them. Sunsweet makes them and you might want to give them a try. There is a huge difference and I don’t think I will ever go back to regular raisins. Continue reading Hot Cross Buns
If you’ve never worked with spaghetti squash, you have really missed a great no fat, low calorie fun food. It is actually a squash, that when cooked, can be pulled with a fork and the squash is identical in looks to spaghetti. Spaghetti Squash Casserole is a perfect example.
I find it impossible to cut this squash uncooked. So, I simply put it on a piece of parchment or foil that has been sprayed and bake it. After it cools a bit, I cut it, scrape out the seeds and turn it into spaghetti. The direction you cut the squash yields a different result. If the squash is cut crosswise, the strands will be long just like spaghetti.
If it is cut lengthwise, the strands will be shorter but I find them easier to eat and to use.
By omitting the sausage, you have a great vegetarian entrée or side dish.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 spaghetti squash about 2 1/4 pounds
1 pound Italian Sausage
1 – 14 1/2 ounce can petit diced tomatoes, well drained
1 – 2/3 ounce package fresh basil, finely cut
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced about 1/3 inch thick
6 ounces sliced provolone
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray. Place the whole squash on the pan and roast for about one and one half hours until soft. Set it aside to cool.
Spray a 2 quart casserole and set aside.
Cook the Italian sausage, breaking it into bite size clumps until browned and completely cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Cut the squash lengthwise and discard the seeds. With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash into a large bowl. Add the fresh basil, salt and pepper; mix well.
Layer the squash mixture in the bottom of the casserole. Top with the sausage and arrange the provolone cheese to cover. Cover the cheese with tomato slices. Set aside.
Cheesey Crumb topping
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup sharp asiago or parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the first five ingredients and mix well. Drizzle olive oil over and stir with a fork to coat the crumbs. Top the casserole with the crumbs. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the crumbs.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until hot through and the cheese has melted.
Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup is a thick, robust soup perfect for a winter’s evening. I don’t think I could ever have enough recipes for soup. There’s something soothing about putting a bunch of ingredients in a pot and watch as it turns into a meal. Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup is a perfect example. Soup can be clear, thin, thick, loaded with ingredients, have none and every country has their favorite.
This soup features brown rice which is the whole grain minus the inedible outer husk. It has a chewy texture and a more pronounced flavor than white rice that has had its husk, bran and germ removed. It takes about twice as long to cook as white rice but is well worth it. Continue reading Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Soup
Russian Rye Bread is a very dense, flavorful, peasant bread. It is great toasted slathered with butter as it comes from the toaster.
If not using a scale, the flour should be stirred in its container. Dip the measuring cup into the flour to overflowing and sweep it off with the back of a knife.
This recipe calls for dark molasses, but do not use blackstrap molasses as it is too strong.
Here are some additional notes. Use a paddle to mix – not the dough hook. Because the dough is so heavy and thick, the hook just goes around in circles and doesn’t pick up the flour easily. I switched back and forth and decided the paddle was the best for this recipe. The finished dough will be somewhat tacky and that it as it should be. This is not the “smooth as a babies bottom” type of dough. It is rustic and bumpy due to the caraway seeds and the coarseness of the rye and whole wheat flours. Continue reading Russian Rye Bread
OK, so we’ve all been trying to be good after the holidays. I get that. But there is only so long I can go without a sweets fix such as this Walnut Streusel Coffeecake. Well, actually I’ve already tested a couple of new cookie recipes for the Holiday season 2013! I know, we have hardly gotten over 2012 holidays but they use an ingredient I can only get during the holidays. This Walnut Streusel Coffeecake is an east treat that is quick to make. It stays moist in case of leftovers – which is highly doubtful and freezes beautifully. So make it and eat it or make it ahead, freeze it then wrap well in foil. Leave it in the foil wrap, but open the top a bit to allow the steam to escape and pop into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until thawed and heated through.
This is so easy to make I have not included how-to photos. Although this is perfect for breakfast or brunch, if you keep on tucked away in the freezer, you can have it anytime. Continue reading Walnut Streusel Coffeecake
Hungarian Goulash and Creamy Polenta with Asiago and Roasted Red Peppers is the perfect dish for a really cold winter night. It’s made even easier by cooking it in the oven where constant attention is not needed. Hungarian cooking is highlighted by the use of sweet paprika and Hungarian Goulash is one of those dishes where every household has its own version.
I limit my veggies to carrots and peas and use white wine and caraway seeds to deepen the flavor. Long, slow cooking in the oven develops a deep mahogany stew and brings out all the flavors of the beef and caraway.
Adding sour cream to a hot sauce causes it to curdle. However, by mixing flour into the sour cream before adding it to the hot sauce prevents any separation and adds a touch of creaminess.
While Hungarian Goulash is usually served over egg noodles, I am serving it over a really creamy Polenta highlighted with asiago cheese and roasted red peppers. Maybe not traditional but it sure is tasty!
Hungarian Goulash and creamy polenta with asiago and roasted red peppers is perfect for a cold night but good anytime of the year. Continue reading Hungarian Goulash and Creamy Polenta with Asiago and Roasted Red Peppers
I have given myself permission to go on vacation for a week so there will be no regular post Thursday. If you don’t know me, this is a big deal for me but the last six weeks have been very hectic and I need a little time to recoup!
There are changes coming in 2013 and I hope you will like them. I am still working through the timetable to introduce a new blog – ”Pastries Like a Pro” which will follow the writing of the upcoming books and general pastry making. Pastry is my strong suit and what I love the most so it seems natural to go in that direction. I hope all of you will join me. I will continue The Ardent Cook for a while longer. Stay tuned and by all means, let me know what you think.
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Also, I would appreciate it very much if you would like www.facebook.com/EuropeanTarts. Marketing is going to be the real challenge with this book and this will help.
Look for Hungarian Goulash and Creamy Polenta with Asiago and Roasted Red Peppers January 10th – after my short vacation.
Who doesn’t love the ultimate comfort food, macaroni and cheese. How about Bacon Macaroni and Cheese? What is more than ultimate? It is actually really easy to make and the additions to it are endless. The bacon is in the topping so the bacon doesn’t get soggy in the sauce. The smoky flavor of the bacon combines with the assorted cheeses really well. I have been frustrated in the past with homemade mac and cheese because it often curdles if heated too quickly or if it gets too hot. There is a way to avoid this and it requires the use of a cheese not normally used in upscale cooking – velveeta cheese. I actually looked at the labeling and found the first ingredient was milk so I was somewhat assuaged. Velveeta and cream cheese allow the mac and cheese to be heated and reheated without curdling. After these two, additional cheese or cheeses are added as you wish. Swiss, Pepperjack, Brie, Cheddar, bleu cheese – any of these add to the taste. The sauce is basic white sauce or béchamel. Please see Bechamel Sauce for the how to photos of making the sauce.
If you’re skeptical, remember Bacon Macaroni and Cheese has the ultimate leveler - bacon which trumps everything else!
8 ounces bacon
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely grated sharp asiago cheese or parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat from cooking the bacon
8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1/4 cup flour (35 grams or 1 heavy ounce)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups whole or 2% milk
6 ounces velveeta, cut into small chunks (170 grams)
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into small chunks (85 grams)
5 ounces swiss or any other cheese desired, grated or finely cut (140 grams)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 quart casserole and set aside.
Finely cut bacon and sauté until crisp. Drain on paper towels. The easiest way to cut the bacon is to freeze it. Cut across the strips and then cut those pieces into fourths. This will yield small bits when fried. Combine the breadcrumbs and asiago cheese. Mix in the cooked bacon. Toss together. Add 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat and mix to coat the crumbs. Add another tablespoon if necessary. Set aside.
Cook the macaroni for 7 to 9 minutes in boiling water until just cooked. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour, salt and peppers. Whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk until it comes to a boil, making sure to whisk into the edges of the pan. Combine all of the cheeses and add to the milk mixture. Stir until all the cheese is completely melted. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole and top with the bacon crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly and heated through.
Leftovers can be heated in the microwave or a 350 degree oven without curdling.
I will be signing my book at Kitchen Conservatory this Sunday from 12:00 to 2:00.
Would love to see you there.