Food Loves Leslie

IMG_0320There are those who eat to live and those who live to eat.  I am most certainly the latter.  And I am lucky to be married to someone who shares this outlook on life.  So much so that it is not unusual for us to send each other recipes and meal ideas via e-mail at all times of the day.

This week’s recipe came from one of those e-mail exchanges and jumped out at me for multiple reasons:

1) Mark sent it me because he thought it sounded good. We share similar tastes in food, so that’s quite an endorsement in my book.

2) There is a lot of cheese in this recipe. Always a good thing.

3) The recipe was written by the co-owners of Pizza Loves Emily, a Brooklyn restaurant that I had just visited with some friends a few weeks earlier.

The owners of Pizza Loves Emily are my kind of people. Emily and Matt  fell in love over multiple dates that included pizza. But on their first “official” date they had a cheesy baked pasta dish that they eventually recreated for the menu at their own restaurant and then graciously shared online.  While I did not get to try this pasta during my visit to their establishment, I did have their pizza (which was very good) and their dessert s’mores calzone (which was out of this world awesome).

Emily and Matt are my kind of people.  They love each other, they love food, and they love to share food with the people they love.  This pretty much sums up my approach to life and marriage.  And therefore, I was willing to trust that their five cheese creation was worth the effort and the financial investment – cheese ain’t cheap!

Truth be told, assembling the right collection of cheese – mozzarella, fontina, blue, ricotta, pecorino – was the hardest part of this recipe.  With only five steps, I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who wants restaurant-quality flavor for the least amount of work.

While the pasta boiled on the stove, I shredded cheese and dumped it in a bowl with milk, rosemary, and crushed tomatoes (hand-crushed by Mark).

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Mark was skeptical of the fact that the recipe did not use the standard bechamel approach seen in most macaroni and cheese recipes.  I was either really trusting of the recipe or feeling lazy.  Either way, I didn’t question it so much. With the tomato sauce, this isn’t a classic macaroni and cheese.

The milk-cheese mix was combined with the pasta and poured into my beloved cast iron skillet:

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It came out 18 minutes later looking golden and just the right amount of crispy:

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It was delicious. Apparently both pizza AND pasta love Emily.  The blue cheese was by far the strongest flavor, which you won’t hear me complain about. For those less into stinky cheese, I think you’d be fine removing the blue cheese, cutting back to four cheeses, and letting the fontina and pecorino really shine.

We ate a descent amount the first night, but there was plenty left over, and it held up two days later. Some of the creaminess was gone, but it was better than most leftover pastas we eat.

So the love affair with food continues in the Hayes household. What will we cook up next? IMG_0341

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