Rekindle romance with some classy comfort

This week’s Eno Outings column by Janet Eastman acknowledged that it’s never too late to remedy a botched Valentine’s Day.

If your efforts didn’t go as planned, or you just want to keep the romance burning, a home-cooked meal could be just the gesture that makes your valentine swoon. While a nice dinner out ranked No.1 among Valentine’s Day wishes for 57 percent of participants in a recent national survey, 38 percent preferred a nice meal at home.

That’s exactly what my husband and I have done for the past couple of years. And because collaborating in the kitchen isn’t our strongest suit, I try to plan the meal ahead of time, so it requires minimal hands-on preparation when I’d rather be otherwise occupied.

This classic comfort-food recipe brings just enough sophistication to macaroni and cheese to make it a special-occasion dish.

It could be assembled the night before for a speedier supper. Spend the hour it takes to bake with an antipasti platter, wine, perhaps a board game, as Janet suggested, or just cuddling on the sofa.

And the large batch yielding at least eight servings guarantees you won’t have to cook for another couple of meals.

MCT photo

Palazzio’s Macaroni and Cheese

2 pounds penne pasta

2 cups heavy cream

4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

4 cups shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

3 ounces prosciutto, diced

5 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 350 F and bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add the pasta to water and cook to al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain.

While pasta is cooking, in a large bowl combine the heavy cream with 3 cups each of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, the Gorgonzola cheese, the prosciutto and eggs.

After draining pasta, turn it into bowl with cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly. Spread pasta into a 9-by-13-inch greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over top of pasta.

Cover baking dish tightly with a greased layer of foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until topping is lightly browned, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

— Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from Palazzio in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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