Thursday, December 22, 2016

Melissa Clark's Buttery Breakfast Casserole


The Breakfast Casserole is a particularly welcome dish over the holidays. With school out and plenty of days off, breakfast becomes a much bigger deal.  In truth, Melissa Clark’s most recent contribution to this genre is a prefect brunch dish as well.  It gets its name not from its butter content but from the buttery base of golden brown Croissants that are the foundation of this luscious dish.  Almost all breakfast casseroles feature bread of some kind, generally the staler the better.  Stale bread eagerly sops up the egg, milk and cream mixture.  Here, Melissa used fresh Croissants. The croissants are toasted in the oven which achieves the same result as stale bread.   The Gruyère cheese and sausage are a classic pairing and they make for a wonderful surprise in the layers of egg-y, custard-y goodness. This dish would be a stand-out even if it didn’t offer one of its greatest assets: it’s easy to assemble the night before and then it’s popped in the oven an hour before you want to serve it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pasta with Mushroom Bolognese Sauce

Bucatini works beautifully in this recipe
“I would be hard pressed to tell you whether or not there was meat in this sauce”. That was Andrew’s take once I served him this completely Vegetarian version of Italy’s renowned Bolognese sauce.   I am not sure that’s the response Vegetarians would be thrilled to hear.   But for those of us who like variety in our diet to include meat-free meals, Andrew’s remarks were as good as they get.  This wonderfully flavorful sauce, full of tomatoey goodness, hints of parmesan and baby eggplant is a pasta lovers dream.  For pasta,  I like to use Bucatini, sometimes called Perciatelli, which takes me right back to Rome with every bite.  Bucatini, the spaghetti-like pasta with a tunnel running through it, is particularly popular there.  Once the sauce has been incorporated into the pasta, a cloud of luscious Burata cheese tops the dish adding a creamy-rich dimension.