Truffled Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

By Rachel Bradley

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butternut squash peeled, cubed in 1″ pieces
  • 1 pound dry Trottole or Macaroni pasta
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 + 4 tablespoons Fresh Harvest Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 large shallot finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Harvest White Truffle Oil (optional)

 (Note: The Spice Boat located next door to Fresh Harvest
sells really great herbs and spices. Their shallots are the bomb!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with 1 tbsp. garlic olive oil.

Place the cut up butternut squash in a large sauce pot of hot water and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for approximately 15 or until the squash is fork tender.  Drain and reserve.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a full boil.  Add the pasta and cook based on the package instructions to al dente.

In a large stock pot, heat 4 tbsps garlic olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallot and sauté for about 2 minutes until the shallot just begins to turn golden.

Add the flour into the olive oil and whisk to blend thoroughly for about one minute, stirring constantly.  Slowly pour the milk into the flour roux, whisking constantly.  Add the cream and continue whisking until thickened.  This is your béchamel sauce. Whisk until there are no lumps and the texture is creamy and smooth.

Take 1 cup of the béchamel from the pot and add it to a blender or food processor with the butternut squash. Process until smooth.  Add the butternut squash mixture back into the pot with the rest of the béchamel. And whisk to combine.  Add all of the cheese to the béchamel, reserving 1 cup of gruyere cheese.  Stir to melt and combine.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if desired.

Add the truffle oil (optional), and the pasta.  Mix well and pour into the prepared baking dish.  Top with the reserved cheese, and bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pasta bubbly.

 

Basic Marinara (Old World Style) – aka. Awesome Spaghetti Sauce

Basic Marinara

By Troy Johnson

This is a quick and basic Marinara recipe to serve with pasta, meatballs, etc. The Fresh Harvest Balsamic makes it shine! Try to find San Marzano tomatoes (this is not a brand, but a regional tomatoes from Italy – many stores carry these).

 Ingredients

  • 1 medium white or yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tbsps.  Fresh Harvest Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
  • ¼  cup Fresh Harvest Neapolitan Herb or Traditional Balsamic
  • ¼  cup full bodied red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce can) San Marzano Italian Tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce can) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp. dried Fresh Harvest Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dash of salt (optional)

Directions:

Heat the Olive Oil in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Add the minced Garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer. Add the wine and cook on higher heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan until most of the liquid evaporate

Add the tomatoes, Balsamic, Italian seasoning, pepper and salt. Stir well and then add the tomato paste.  Blend well and bring to just a slight boil. Then immediately reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

This can simmer for up to an hour, but you don’t want it to burn. Serve over pasta, meatballs, etc.

This basic sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes: San Marzano tomatoes are the most famous plum tomato to come out of Italy. They are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius, which gives them a sweet flavor and low acidity and they are coveted for their firm pulp, deep red color, easy to remove skin and low seed count. There are many different brands offering this type of tomato. I prefer the Carmelina brand, but Cento Organic is also great. Using this type of canned tomato really makes your marinara taste fresh. 

Italian Turkey Meatballs (Old World Style)

Balsamic Olive Oil Italian Turkey Meatballs

By Troy Johnson

These big meatballs are baked, not fried. And they are delicious, easy and don’t taste like a turkey meatball due to the Tuscan Olive Oil and Balsamic in the recipe. Delizioso!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey (1 lb white / 1 lb dark)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 medium sweet or white onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Panko Italian bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup Fresh Harvest Tuscan Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Fresh Harvest Traditional Balsamic
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

For the herbs you can use either of these options:

  • 2 ½  Tbsps. dried Fresh Harvest Italian Seasoning


Or you can use fresh herbs:

  • 1 cup packed fresh Basil leaves (minced)
  • ½ cup packed fresh Oregano leaves (minced)
  • ¼ cup packed fresh Rosemary leaves (minced)

 

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, garlic and onion. Mix well with a large wooden spoon.

Blend the Tuscan Olive Oil and Traditional Balsamic and add to the turkey mixture. Mix well.

Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Mix well.

Add breadcrumbs and cheese. Mix well.

Spray a 10” x 12” (or larger) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, or use a bit of Olive Oil and brush on bottom of dish so the meatballs won’t stick. Next, wet your clean hands with cold water. This will keep the meatballs from sticking to your fingers!

Form meatballs by hand and place in baking dish so that they don’t touch each other too closely. This recipe makes about 10-12 larger meatballs.

Bake uncovered in the center of your oven for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow the meatballs to rest for 5 minutes.

I like to serve the meatballs on a bed of pasta (your choice), top with a good marinara and a bit of Romano cheese. And of course some great bread, like Focaccia or Baguette.  Don’t forget the wine (or Tea)!