Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Love Affair

  I love anything almost anything covered in cheese (got to learn to be more specific about this saying!) – always have, always will. If you read my blog, you know that I have a love and maybe even an obsession for grilled cheese sandwiches. AND, you might be surprised (and even taken aback) to see that I’m doing a post on something other than this childhood classic. WELL SURPRISE! It’s the grilled cheese sandwich’s best friend – MAC & CHEESE, which is going to be a part of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s blog on this delicious meal! This aberration is absolutely delicious and I know it might be scary, but leaving your GC comfort zone to try this creamy Asiago delight spiked with braised Brussels sprouts and dried cranberries. It is worth your while, I swear. Give it ago, your taste buds will thank you.


Ingredients

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts:
- 5 cups Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 large sweet Vidalia onion,coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon Instant Gourmet (or your favorite seasoning blend)
 
Asiago Cheese Sauce:
 - 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated Wisconsin Asiago Cheese
- 1 cup crumbled Wisconsin Gorgonzola Cheese
- 1/2 large sweet Vidalia onion, finely diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
  
Pasta:
-1 (1-pound) box of cellentani (aka corkscrew) pasta
-2 tablespoons or teaspoons? sea salt


Brussels Sprouts:

 To begin, rinse your Brussels sprouts, peel off any unsightly leaves, and put them in a microwavable Ziploc bag.  Place the filled bag in the microwave and cook on high for three minutes.  This will steam the veggies and make the caramelizing process quicker.  Once they’re steamed, take them out of the bag, let cool, and cut off the bottom and peel off the top leaves.  If more leaves fall off, save them. These loose leaves will get really crunchy and delicious in the browning process. 


 Once your Brussels sprouts are trimmed, coarsely chop half a Vidalia onion and set aside.  Next, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat and add the red pepper flakes.  Stir to allow the flakes infuse in the butter and after about a minute add the onion.  At this point, you’ll want to add a pinch of salt to the onion to help it become soft.


 After they’ve become softened and sort of translucent, add Brussels sprouts and remaining butter and turn heat up to medium/high.  Once they start to brown, add 1 tablespoon of Instant Gourmet seasoning and stir.


  The sugar from the seasoning will caramelize the vegetables and they will become a beautiful golden color.  Once they develop the golden crust, take off of the heat and reserve for later.


Pasta:

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 4-6 quarts of water (or enough water to cover your pasta) and turn to high heat.  As it begins to boil, add the salt, stir, and wait for it to come to a boil again.  Next, add your pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente - it should be about 11 minutes.  Don’t forget to stir every few minutes to avoid a clumpy ball of pasta.  Drain and shock with cold water so the pasta stops cooking.  Reserve for later.


Asiago Cheese Sauce:

The cheese sauce is the last component you’ll want to make because it is best to serve right when it’s done.  To make this you’ll want to begin by finely dicing half a Vidalia onion and sautéing it in 1 tablespoon butter.


 Add a pinch of salt to help soften the onions and cook for a few minutes.  Then add the dried cranberries and the rest of the butter and stir until the butter is melted and the cranberries are heated – it should take 1-2 minutes. 


 Now it’s time for the flour.  Add 1 tablespoon flour to the onions and cranberries and stir.  Cook for about two minutes to bind to the other ingredients and dissolve the flour-y taste.


 After you’ve cooked down the flour, go ahead and slowly pour in all of your heavy whipping cream.  Turn the heat to medium high, as to not burn the cream, and wait for it to start to bubble. 



 Next, let it simmer until the cream is reduced by 1/3 and add the shredded cheese half a cup at a time.  Stir in a figure 8 motion until it is smooth and creamy.  After you’ve added all the cheese, stir in the Dijon mustard and remove from heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Now combine the Brussels sprouts, pasta and cheese in a large serving bowl and let the people eat!  Enjoy!


 Xoxo,

17 comments:

  1. You have crossed over to the other side!!! This is some serious comfort food!! What a great idea for a cocktail party in the martini glasses!! I would have never thought of combining Brussels sprouts and cranberries with mac and cheese!! Love your site..you keep us guessing what you will come up with next!!!

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  2. looks amazing!

    http://kimchicsisters.blogspot.com/2011/02/amazing-milk-chocolate-lollipops-with.html

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  3. wow. i'm in awe. this looks amazing and i want to eat my computer! i'm following immediately and making this asap!

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  4. Like you, I'm in LOVE with alll things cheese! I am so excited that I found your site!! A lot of people think I'm weird for loving cheese so much, but I could totally eat grilled cheese everyday! Unfortunately, I suffer from GERD often, and am a little restricted on certain ingredients (ugh)...but I am psyched to try many of your recipes!!! I'm totally doing a post on my blog about you right now!

    http://stylethunder.blogspot.com

    xoxo
    Rachel

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  5. Mackenzie! It's Ilana from CHS. Your blog is the most delicious thing. I have already saved 3 of your recipes to make asap.
    Happy eating.
    xo

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  6. that looks incredible....

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  7. mmm i love brussels sprouts and am obsessed with mac and cheese, this recipe is the perfect combo! must try..

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  8. AHHHHHHHH! update already please! I cannot wait to see your next recipe! (:

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  9. I love love love mac n cheese and I am most definitely going to make this...but I don't love Gorgonzola. What do you recommend I replace it with!?

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  10. thanks everyone!

    I've had a super busy week, but a new post is in the works!

    @Maureen - if you don't like gorgonzola, try gouda! it'll still be just as delicious and creamy :)

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  11. This blog has made my night. I went through your entire archives (had to get up halfway to make a sandwich because you were making me hungry!) just then and shared it on my Facebook, daring anyone to look at your blog and not crave a sandwich. My girlfriend and I also spammed keyboard over chat talking about your awesome sandwich skillz.

    Seriously. So many levels of amazing.

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  12. I am absolutely in LOVE with your blog!! Each picture is more delicious than the next :)
    are u a photographer? Your food styling is awesome!

    Cheers!
    http://somethinglovelyhere.blogspot.com/

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  13. you are amazing! i just spent the last ten minutes oogling over your sandwich creations. cheeeeseee! so nomz. and we have the same curtains (i see from your profile pic) so thats even more awesome :D

    now an avid follower!

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  14. HOLY CRUD my mouth is watering! I have to make this!!
    xo, Alexandra
    http://moneuphorie.blogspot.com/

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  15. Hands down most unique food blog I've seen. Your blog is straight food porn, especially for cheese lovers like myself. I'm absolutely giving this recipe a try this weekend, wish me luck!

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  16. This was sooooooooo (i could go on for way longer) good! Total comfort food. I made this for dinner one night and it was a total hit. Thanks for the incredible recipe!

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