Pasta Marcella

June 11, 2011

The Lady loves to use ingredients she has on hand to construct meals. She calls it “The Kitchen Sink” approach to cooking. Having just returned from Dallas the night before, she feared the cupboard would be bare when breakfast rolled around. But to the delight of The Man and moi, your feeling-humble today Feline Foodie, she found enough items to make an omelette for The Man and a pasta dish for the two of us.


Bacon – 4 strips
Bowtie Pasta (Any pasta you would use for mac n cheese would do – bowtie was what she had on hand)
1 Parmigiana Reggiano Rind
Golden Glen Creamery’s Farmstead Butter
Tillamook 2-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar (our “everyday” cheddar)
6 Eggs (3 for the omelette and 3 for the pasta
Fresh Herbs from the deck (She snipped Italian Parsley, Curly Parsley, Chives, Rosemary and Thyme)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Tomato, chopped.


Fry bacon in pan you will later use to assemble and cook your eggs and cooked pasta. Put aside and leave bacon drippings in pan.
Boil water for pasta. Add the Parm rind to the water. Cook pasta. Drain; do not rinse. Toss rind.
While bacon and pasta are cooking, grate cheese, chop herbs and whisk your eggs.
Add salt and pepper to taste to the whisked eggs.
Divide bacon drippings into two pans (one will be the one you used to fry bacon) and add a little EVOO and butter to each pan.
Divide eggs and put into two pans to cook. Use medium heat on both.
Add equal parts of cheese and herbs to each.
In bacon pan, add your drained pasta. Toss pasta to coat with eggs and cheese and let cook, stirring to avoid excessive sticking.
Cook omelette using normal methods and hope it comes out looking more like an omelette rather than scrambled eggs – either way it will taste great.
Serve everything when eggs are cooked.
Garnish with chopped tomato.


Clean kitchen.


You may recall that in November 2009, I was named Tillamook Cheese Fan of the Month; the first feline to hold that honor. In homage to such a prestigious award, The Lady and I have designed this grilled cheese using our “everyday cheddar”.


Crusty Italian Bread

Golden Glen Creamery Farmstead Butter

Tillamook 2-Year Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

Tillamook Hot Habanero Jack Cheese

Thinly Sliced Sweet Onion – such as Vidalia or Texas Sweet

Thinly Sliced Tomatoes

Foster Farms’ Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – Deli Slices


For simple instructions on how to assemble a perfect grilled cheese sandwich,please click here.

Also, please visit Golden Glen Creamery by clicking here.


The Lady came across a recipe for Zingerman’s Roadhouse Mac n Cheese which in September of this year the Food Network named the #1 Comfort Food in America. For the original recipe, click here.

The Lady adapted their recipe as follows:

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes, Total time: 30 minutes


Olive Oil

4 Kalbi Marinated Chicken Thighs, grilled

sea salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped

Celery seeds

1 large elephant garlic clove
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup Half n Half
1 teaspoon deli-style mustard
1 pound grated 3 year Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Cup of frozen peas.


Grill chicken thighs. (The Lady buys the Kalbi Marinated Chicken at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer Meat Counter, which The Man and I find to be quite delish.) Set aside to cool and then chop into bite-size pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and stir well.  Cook according to the instructions on the pasta box. Drain it and set it aside. Do not rinse. The starch holds the cheese better on the pasta.

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the sauce in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, being careful not to scorch the butter. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and sauté until the translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. The Lady sprinkled the veggies with celery seeds before sautéing.

Add the flour, and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk and half n half, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. Once the flour and milk are completely combined, stir in the heavy whipping cream. Keep the mixture at a simmer (not at a high boil) until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the mustard, cheese and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large heavy bottom skillet set over medium-high heat, get the pan very hot. Add the olive oil and when it begins just to smoke, add the drained cooked noodles. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles. Toss thoroughly and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you have approximately 15% of the mixture golden brown.

Add the chopped chicken and the frozen peas. Toss and serve.

You don’t need to cook the peas in advance. The heat of the dish will cook them enough for taste.

In a previous post, I sang the praises of Greg, Mark and the crew running the meat counter at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer. They continue to create and impress… the latest being Blazin’ Chicken Wings and Black River Gorgonzola Chicken Sausage.

We enjoyed these in Stadium Buns with mayo and mustard earlier in the week and today The Lady used two links to make a formidable quiche… and yes… real men (that would be The Man) and real Feline Foodies (that would be me) do eat quiche and they love it!!

She used our favorite “everyday” cheddar, Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar for the “body” of the quiche and it turned out to be another “swooner” for The Man.

Here’s how she made this quiche:


Marie Callendar Pie Crust

2 Hawthorne Fred Meyer Blazin’ Chicken Wings & Black River Gorg Sausages

4 Eggs

1 ½ Cups Half n Half

1 Cup Grated Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar

1 Chopped Onion

½ Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper

¼ Cup Chopped Celery

Marie’s European Style Roasted Garlic and Herb Butter Blend (for sautéing veggies)

1 Teaspoon Chopped Parsley

1 Teaspoon Chives


Pre-heat oven to 450°.

Bake prepared pie crust in oven for about 7 minutes. Allow to cool.

Reduce heat in oven to 350°

Sauté the sausage until cooked. Do not overcook. Chop up and allow to cool.

Sauté the onion, bell pepper and celery in a dollop of Maria’s Butter.(The Butter adds a nice savory flavor to the quiche.) Cook just until the veggies start to turn opaque. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and add half n half to eggs. Whisk together.

Add sausage, veggie mixture, cheese parsley and chives to pie crust. Pour egg and cream mixture on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted knife blade comes out clean.

Let sit for 5 minutes.

The Lady served it with a salad of seasonal fruits.

The Lady was wandering around Costco a few days ago and saw the two pound 100th Anniversary wheels of the special three year Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar, which is a favorite around the manse. It’s one of our “everyday” cheeses. She couldn’t resist and bought a couple of wheels.  She had been on another cheese mission, but hit the “Abort” Button when those yummy wheels caught her eye…

She came home and announced she was going to make a cheesecake using our favorite cheddar… and she did.

The taste is quite savory and The Man, as is to be expected, swooned when he had his first bite. I was a bit more reserved but this Feline Foodie was thrilled… this is damn fine cheesecake…if I do say so myself. Of course, it might have just been cheesecake if it weren’t for Tillamook.

Topping follows recipe.


1 Pound Tillamook Three-Year Vintage White Cheddar (the two-year will also work well) – Room Temperature and Shredded

2 Pounds Cream Cheese – Room Temperature

1 ½ Cups Sugar

4 Eggs – Room Temperature

2 Teaspoons Real Vanilla

1 Small carton Fresh Blueberries


Whole Box Graham Crackers (she used the one with 3 sleeves)

1 Cup Pecans

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Pound Tillamook Unsalted Butter – melted


Wrap bottom of 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to avoid leakage from water bath.

Heat oven to 350°

Crush crackers and pecans in food processor until pulverized.

Combine cracker/pecan mixture with sugar and melted butter.

Press into bottom of springform pan.

Bake in oven for 12 minutes.

Remove and let cool to room temperature.

Blend cream cheese, cheddar, sugar and vanilla in a food processor. (You can use a stand mixer with paddle but processor will give you a much creamier end product.)

 Add eggs one at a time and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

Fold in blueberries.

Put mixture in springform pan and place pan inside a large roasting pan.

Fill roasting pan with warm water about half way up the sides of the springform.

Place on middle shelf of oven and bake for 1 ½ hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°.

You may need to cover the cake with foil at some point to avoid over-browning the top. This is a dense cake and cooking in the water bath takes longer. The Lady started checking the temperature after 1 hour and actually had to bake this cake almost 2 hours before the temperature was at 165.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Chill overnight in the fridge.


The Lady made a sauce for the top using 1 small carton of blueberries, ½ cup of sugar and a small airplane size bottle of Grand Marnier. She put the three ingredients in a pan and heated just until it started to thicken.


This is from a recipe given to The Lady by Cha Cha, a young Mexican woman who grew up in East LA. The Lady adapted it to fit the needs and wants of The Man. The Lady asked The Man if he wanted Red or Green Sauce and he replied, “Both”.

The original recipe was as a casserole and when The Lady asked Cha Cha why it was a casserole, she explained that it was much easier than rolling the enchiladas and it tasted the same… The Lady embraced the “easy” part…

As many of you know, The Lady doesn’t measure and just goes along using the amounts of ingredients that she thinks will work. Where she knows the exact amount or number, she has included it.


6 Flour or Corn Tortillas

Red Enchilada Sauce – 10 ounce can

Green Enchilada Sauce – 10 ounce can

Tillamook Cheeses: Colby/Jack, Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar and Chili Pepper Garlic Cheddar (Shredded using equal parts of the Colby/Jack and White Cheddar and half that amount of the Chili Pepper Garlic. She mixed all three together.)

Chicken – 2 Boneless Breasts and 4 Boneless Thighs

Black olives – Sliced

½ Bulb of Shallot – Chopped

2 Garlic Cloves – Chopped

½ of a large Sweet Onion – Chopped

1 Bell Pepper – Chopped

¼  to ½ Cilantro Bunch – Chopped

1 Anaheim chili

Mexican Seasoning to Taste

Oil (The Lady only uses EVOO)


The Lady grilled the Anaheim Chili over the gas flame of the stove until totally charred. She then put it in a zipper bag with a wet paper towel to steam it. She left it in the bag to cool.

Next she sprinkled Mexican Seasonings on the chicken and sautéed the pieces in EVOO in a large sauce pan. Once cooked, she set aside to cool in a bowl to catch the juices to be used later.  

Next she chopped the shallots, onions, garlic and bell pepper and sautéed them in the same pan she used to grill the chicken. 

Once cooled, The Lady tore the chicken into shreds and added the sautéed veggies to the bowl with the chicken and natural juices.

Next she peeled the charred skin off the Anaheim Chili; chopped it and added it to the chicken mixture. 

She sliced the olives and chopped the cilantro and added them to the chicken mixture and set aside.

Next step was to schmear half of the baking dish bottom with some of the red sauce and the other half with some of the green sauce. 

She scraped the bottom of the sauce pan and added a little EVOO. Once the oil was hot, she began sautéing the tortillas to brown them slightly. She put two on the bottom and schmeared both – keeping the red sauce on one side of the dish and the green on the other.

Next she added some of the chicken mixture and then sprinkled some of the Tillamook Cheese mixture on top. She repeated 8 and 9 to make three layers.

Cover top with remaining cheese mixture.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes until bubbly and cheese on top is slightly brown.

Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side. Spanish rice and/or black beans are nice side dishes.


Yesterday, The Man asked for Mac n Cheese for lunch. The Lady went to the cheese drawer in the fridge…aka my favorite drawer… to see what cheeses she had to make the dish. She decided to go off the reservation and use several small pieces to make the meal.

Here’s what she used:

From the recent reviews of Fair Oaks Farm, Indiana’s Largest Dairy Farm, she used pieces of their Sweet Swiss, Emmentaler, Aged Gouda and Asiago; from Roth Kase, she used Grand Cru Gruyere (which she helped make last spring), Butterkase and she topped the dish with her “everyday cheddar”, Tillamook Vintage White, Extra-Sharp Cheddar. As a feline foodie who loves cheese, this combination was a winner…big time!! This was one of the creamiest Mac n Cheese dishes she has made.

The Man and I both pronounced it divine!!

Here’s how she made it:

Ingredients for the cheese sauce:

Fair Oaks Sweet Swiss

Fair Oaks Asiago

Fair Oaks Aged Gouda

Fair Oaks Emmentaler

Roth Kase Grand Cru Gruyere

Roth Kase Butterkase

These cheeses totaled approximately one pound.

½ stick Tillamook Butter

1/3 cup Wondra Flour (makes better sauces than regular flour)

3 Cups 1% Milk – the cheese brings enough butterfat to the party

A little salt and pepper

A little garlic powder

Preparation for the cheese sauce:

Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan. Whisk in the Wondra. Continue whisking and cook a couple of minutes to lightly brown and get rid of the “flour-taste”.

Add milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and continue whisking. Cook until thickens – will take a couple of minutes (maybe longer).

Add the cheeses and cook until melted and melted together. Will only take a couple of minutes.

Use at once or refrigerate for use within a couple of days. (This is also a good sauce for vegetables and omelets.)

Makes about 4 cups of sauce.

Ingredients for Mac n Cheese Casserole:

8 ounces penne or macaroni (you want to use a pasta that will “suck” the cheese into it)

2 Cups of Cheese sauce (above)

2 Ounces of grated Tillamook Vintage White Extra-Sharp Cheddar

Chili Powder

Preparation of the Casserole:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil a 9X13 inch casserole dish.

Cook the pasta – be sure and cook a couple of minutes less than you would normally. It will finish cooking in the oven.

Drain pasta (do not rinse; the sauce will adhere better to unrinsed pasta) and pour sauce over it until well-mixed.

Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle Tillamook on top.

Finish with chili powder, to taste.

Bake 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.