Tag Archives: Asiago cheese

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

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I love macaroni and cheese; actually my entire family does. The premise behind the dish is so simple, noodles and cheese baked together in the oven but the execution can be anything but ordinary. Classic macaroni and cheese is delicious as is roasted garlic mac & cheese and broccoli mac & cheese. Or perhaps you prefer your mac and cheese even a bit more different; in that case, beer and jack chili mac n’ cheese might be what you want or if you are looking for an impressive presentation sausage macaroni & cheese stuffed squash is what you need. But what if your mac and cheese doesn’t include the traditional noodles?

That is exactly what this mac and cheese, adapted from Sugar & Soul, is all about. Here, gnocchi, those little Italian pillows of potato goodness, take the place of traditional noodles. The cheese sauce remains the same and is comprised of a variety of cheeses which only adds to the complexity of the sauce. Its so easy and so good.

Serve these cheesy gnocchi with a green salad and dinner is ready. Yum!

GNOCCHI MAC & CHEESE

1/4 pound diced pancetta

1 pound potato gnocchi

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a ceramic casserole dish with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. When the gnocchi is cooked, drain it a colander and transfer it to the prepared casserole dish.
  • Fry the pancetta in a medium sized skillet set over medium-high heat until browned and crisp.
  • Drain the pancetta onto a paper towel then sprinkle evenly over the gnocchi.
  • Add the butter to the pancetta fat and stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant.
  • Stir in the flour and wisk until bubbly.
  • Add in the milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheddar, mozzarella, and the parmesan cheese to the skillet and then immediately remove it from heat.
  • Wisk until cheese has melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the asiago cheese and the bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is melted and golden brown.

Serves 6

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Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Squash and sage are a perfect flavor combination.  When cut into small pieces, the squash cooks quickly and you can even reduce the preparation time if you buy pre-cut squash from your grocer’s fresh food case.  If you can’t find butternut squash you can easily substitute any firm fleshed winter squash or even pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced

1 ½ cups risotto rice

½ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

  • Place the squash in a small saucepan adding enough water to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a boil and steam until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth and white wine in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to keep the broth mixture at a low simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the onions and stir to combine.  Add one ladle of the broth to the pot and stir well.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the rice until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.
  • Repeat this process until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Add the reserved squash and gently fold to incorporate.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated Asiago cheese and minced sage.  Serve immediately.

Serves:  4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish

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