Category Archives: Cheese

Eggplant Gratin

We went home for father’s day and (I) came back with good west-side groceries, including an eggplant that my mom had no idea what to do with. Bake it, I say! (courtesy of Ina, a very rich, delicious dish!)

(…yes, my gratin was baked in a pie dish)

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

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Best-yet homemade Mac n’ Cheese

After several recipes, methods, and ingredients, we’ve come down to this: best-yet homemade mac n’ cheese.

Yum!

You will need:

  • 6 strips of center-cut bacon
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups grated extra sharp white cheese, shredded (we used Cougar Gold)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 box of ribbed penne pasta
  • 1 cup of pretzels; broken into bits

Cook bacon in a saucepan; set aside. Keep bacon grease to saute onion and garlic. Once browned, add butter. Once melted, reduce heat to medium and add flour. Mix with a whisk; this is the start of your roux. Once combined, reduce heat to low and add heavy cream and milk in 1/4 cup increments, alternating milk and cream. Mix each addition until blended; the sauce will be thick and beige. After all milk/cream is added, turn heat off and add shredded cheese, stirring constantly to incorporate. Add bacon and pepper to taste.

In a 9×12 baking dish, add 1/2 of the cooked pasta; add 1/2 of the sauce. Repeat. Mix sauce and pasta to combine. Top with pretzels.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400F or until top is browned.

Enjoy!