This recipe comes to us from Mr. Justin Pitts, Esq. of Malibu, California, so you know this shiz be fancy.
I have yet to try this, but I think we all recognize that bubbly cheese=fatty goodness about 98% of the time.
(The other 2% of the time is made up of randomly scarring incidents such as the time I saw a cheese-and-mayonnaise sandwich that was left out on the picnic table for 2 days in kindergarten. This girl Amanda used to trade me her Kraft-single-and-mayo sammys for my boring turkey ones because my mom wouldn’t make them for me. Dot said they provided no nutritional value… which is ironic, because she also used to let me eat whole sticks of butter. But I only parent a small dog who eats olives and pickles on the regular, so what do I know.)
Anyway, bubbly cheese + fresh herbs + a cast iron skillet should be enough to melt any Southerner’s heart, so we’re glad to see Pitts hasn’t let SoCal fancify all the good sense out of him. Now let’s get melty:
1.5 lbs Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind cut off, 1-in dice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
- Put the cheese cubes in a 12 Inch cast iron skillet. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the garlic and herbs all around and season with salt and pepper.
- Put under broiler 5 inches from the heat for about 6-7 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown.
- Dip the bread in it and devour.
While I have a personal rule that food is always better the fatter you feel after you eat it, sometimes you need to slim things down a bit. And while the blue box is always going to be a personal favorite of mine, Barrett tells me sometimes we have to eat like adults. Runyan assures me this is kick ass, and Runyan don’t play, so we’re in business.
1 package of frozen butternut squash puree (or roast and puree 1 medium squash)
1 lb short cut pasta (I use gemelli or shells)
1 cup of milk (add this as needed – you may not need the full cup or you may need a bit more)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded fontina
parm and bread crumbs for topping
few dashes Worstershire
fresh or dried basil (1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a saucepan, defrost squash on medium low heat with milk and worstershire. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta to just short of al dente – usually 2-3 minutes shy of recommended cook time. Drain pasta.
- At this point, the squash and milk mixture should be smooth and creamy. Add cheddar and fontina and stir. Toss in basil.
- Combine sauce with pasta in a baking dish. Top with parm, breadcrumbs, and olive oil if you like.
- Put in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Broil for a few minutes at the end to really brown up the top. Voila.
While I initially thought Todd and Barrett’s enormous crush on Interim was a bit ridiculous, I’ve come to learn it’s totally appropriate. Their mac and cheese – along with pretty much everything else on the menu – is phenomenal. Thanks to The Commercial Appeal’s Jennifer Biggs for getting them to share the recipe here. If I made anything that tasted this good I would probably keep it a secret, but luckily Chef Jackson Kramer’s not a stingy hatemonger like I am, so yea for us!
1 lb. macaroni pasta
2 cups Béchamel*
3 cups cheese blend**
4 oz. country ham
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
2 oz. butter
2 oz. flour
1/2 gallon milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 oz. grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of salt. Add the pasta and cook until fully done. Do not worry about cooking it al dente. Cool under cold water and set aside.
- Béchamel: Make a roux by adding 2 oz. butter and 2 oz. flour to a pan and cook until thoroughly combined and light brown. Stir in half-gallon of milk and let simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Dice the country ham and sauté in a pan for 1 minute.
- For the topping, melt the butter and add it to the panko bread crumbs with the Parmesan and herbs.
- To finish, combine the pasta, Béchamel, and cheese blend in a large pot. Warm over medium heat until the cheese has totally melted. (if too thick, add a touch of water). Add the thyme and country ham. Season with salt and pepper. Add it to a small casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumb topping on top. Place in the oven and bake until top is golden brown.
** The cheese blend consists of 1 part Parmesan, 2 parts white cheddar and 2 parts fontina. Makes about 6 casserole servings.