Archive | Meat RSS feed for this section

Frenchie and l’Apéro Dînatoire

16 Aug

David, I’m scared! I was invited by this French family to an apéro dînatoire.

What is it and what am I getting myself into? It sounds appealing yet frightening.

Are they going to grill me on my subjonctif plus-que-parfait? Do I need to eat beforehand?

Should I brush up on La Marseillaise and boldly lie to them with positive comments as to why hand-held shower heads are better after all?

… such are the frantic questions I received via texts from my friend “J.”

Frankly, I am still surprised that American cooking and food magazines haven’t yet bought into the French fad of l’apéro dînatoire – especially since it involves food and drinks!

A great opportunity to write about what it actually is and give you 3 new recipes to go along with it.

Tapas, antipasti, finger food, cocktail party, hors d’œuvres, drinks and nibbles – translate it however you want, the apéro dînatoire is meant to have fun and eat.

In France, the apéritif takes place before the meal as a way to open up and boost the appetite.

Leave it to the French to awaken and exalt your stomach with finger food and the arousing idea of an exciting meal to be served next.

An alcoholic beverage as well as some amuse-bouches are offered to snack on while lunch or dinner is being prepared.

Commonly shortened to apéro in casual conversations, l’apéritif is a real tradition française.

French magazines picked up on the trendy apéro dînatoire very early on.

Apéro dînatoire ideas for 4, 8 or 10!

Apéro dînatoire on a budget!

Easy apéro dînatoire!

My definition of an apéro dînatoire is quite simple.

It is a social gathering mixing cold and hot finger foods – which should involve the least amount of prep time – usually made in advance, paired with wines or cocktails, and showcasing the host’s ability to effortlessly cook and assemble the most complicated delicious treats all the while telling impressed guests that it was soooo easy to prepare and that it took no time at all.

Mais non, c’est très simple ! I swear.

It should leave you fulfilled and content. Not hungry, yet not stuffed either.

An apéro dînatoire – more than just a small quick apéritif, yet not a full-on dinner either.

The French are very keen on the cake salé – or savory cake – for these events.

Another fad I am surprised American food magazines haven’t pick up yet.

Zucchini breads always end up too sweet in my opinion so I wouldn’t consider them as a cake salé.

Blue cheese with pears. Gorgonzola with honey. Blue cheese with bacon.

They are effortlessly “easy” to prepare, different, and make for great finger food sliced up with a glass of wine.

And since August comes to its end and I used to spend my August vacations as a kid in Corsica, my latest savory cake is reminiscent of those Corsican flavors I know so well.

A bit of southern France on your plate.

Made with chestnut flour, it awakens the taste buds with hints of prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes, and brings great texture thanks to a combination of millet and amaranth flours and a crunchy finish with toasted pine nuts.

It took 4 hungry mouths and 25 minutes for the cake to almost disappear from the pan at my last apéro dînatoire.

So is the apéro dînatoire the French answer to the Spanish tapas and pinchos?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss Spain.

At times, my mind and my thoughts are still vacationing in Spain even though I got back in early June.

The power of traveling abroad! Lingering memories of a wonderful trip.

And with a post about apéro dînatoire, what better way than to include Spanish pinchos I keep dreaming about.

I know I will make as many pinchos and savory cakes as I can until the end of summer.

Enjoying the last warm evenings gathered with friends around a festive apéro dînatoire.

Chestnut-Flavored Savory Cake with Prosciutto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

use an 8.5″ x 4.5″ (22 x 12 cm) loaf pan

3 eggs

0.5 cup (100 ml) of olive oil

1/4 cup (50 ml) of whole milk

1/4 cup (50 ml) of white wine

0.5  cup (50 g) of shredded Parmesan

0.5 cup (50 g) of grated Pecorino

0.5 cup (60 g) of chestnut flour

1/3 cup (60 g) of white rice flour

5 Tbsp of amaranth flour

3 Tbsp of millet flour

2 teaspoon of baking powder

1.5 Tbsp of xanthan gum

1 garlic clove – minced

1.5-2 oz (40-55 g) of prosciutto – roughly cut and chopped

12 green olives – sliced

6 Tbsp of pine nuts – toasted

7 sun dried-tomatoes – roughly chopped

2 Tbsp of sage – chopped

2 Tbsp of basil – chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Butter the cake pan and set aside.

In a small pan, toast the pine nuts over high heat until they become fragrant (about 2 minutes). Let them cool.

I use sun-dried tomatoes already marinated in olive oil. Blot them with paper towels before chopping them.

In a big bowl, combine the eggs and the olive oil using a hand mixer until light and smooth. It should have doubled its volume (2 minutes).

Add the milk and wine. Continue mixing for 1 minute.

Add both cheeses to the bowl and mix delicately with a spatula.

In a smaller bowl, sift the flours together with the baking powder and xanthan gum.  Mix them together.

Add the flours to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the batter: garlic, prosciutto, olives, toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, sage and basil.

Mix gently.

Pour and spread the dough in the cake pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of it comes out dry.

Note: I did not include any sea salt in this recipe. The olives, Parmesan, Pecorino and prosciutto add enough salt to the cake on their own.

Goat cheese with Spiced Peach Compote Pincho


Anchovy and Roasted Red Pepper Pincho with Quail Egg

exact numbers and measurements not given here so you can make as many as you want.

1 baguette

1 garlic clove – peeled and halved

olive oil

frisée lettuce

1 goat cheese with rind

1 batch of spiced peach compote ( you will need 11-13 ripe peaches, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 3 Tbsp of lime juice, 1.5 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 6 whole star anise, 10 whole cloves, 0.5 cup (100 g) of blonde cane sugar, 1/3 cup (65 g) of light Muscovado sugar, 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract)

pistachios – toasted and roughly chopped

cherry tomatoes

basil leaves

small skewers

Make the spiced peach compote. Combine all ingredients needed for the compote in a big pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. Check regularly. Uncover after 30 minutes and continue cooking for an additional 15-18 minutes until the peaches are really soft. Set aside and let cool. Discard the star anise and clove pieces when cold.

Toast the bread by setting the oven on broiler – high.

Rub the garlic clove on the bread slices – both sides – and brush them with olive oil.

Set them on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until golden and toasted. Set aside.

Toast the pistachios in a small pan over high heat until fragrant (2-4 minutes).

Assemble the pincho by cutting a slice of goat cheese with a hot knife. Set the cheese on top of a frisée leaf. Drop a small spoonful of peach compote on top and sprinkle with the chopped toasted pistachios. Finish by placing a cherry tomato wrapped in a basil leaf on top and use a skewer to hold the pincho together.

For the other pincho, you will need:

1 baguette

1 garlic clove – peeled and halved

olive oil


fire roasted red peppers – thinly sliced lengthwise

pitted black olives

quail eggs

To boil the quail eggs, fill a small pan with water, drop the eggs in the water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and let the eggs cook for 5 minutes.

Place them under cold water when done to stop the cooking process. Set aside and let cool.

Toast the bread slices as explained above.

Assemble the pincho by placing 2 thin slices of roasted red pepper as well as 2 small anchovies on the toasted bread.

Prepare a skewer with one black olive, one hard-boiled quail egg and another black olive.

Spike the pincho with the skewer to make it hold.


Frenchie and the San Francisco Chef

12 Jun

As promised after last week’s teaser, here are California pictures, stories, emotions, travel memories and a special guest on Frenchie and the Yankee with an exclusive recipe.

A wedding is always an exciting time. The setting, the guests, the reception and the party. A moment to celebrate and share with everyone invited to honor the united couple.

But when it’s one of your best friend getting married, the experience is somehow different. A bit closer to home.

And since my friend “A.” is now married to foodie extraordinaire Chef John Beardsley, Garibaldi’s Executive Chef in San Francisco, I couldn’t not feature one of his new exclusive recipe he created for the blog…

… I give you Le Frenchie Burger aka Le Gut Buster.

But before I talk about the burger, first Napa.

I had never been to Napa Valley. And I will definitely go back.

Napa kept its promises of sunny drives through green and luscious vines.

Winding roads up and down the hills reminiscing of drives in Corsica.

Oaky, powerful, upfront style wines to taste.

And small wineries to visit – dropping by unannounced in beautiful settings with hints of Tuscany yet welcomed with open arms as if we were expected all along.

The wineries we visited all offered something different setting them apart from one another.

Places, details and smells start flashing back as I am writing this.

The Duel wine at the Darioush Winery with its fleshy and earthy attributes while shiny waterlilies gently float away in the outdoor pool.

The restful patio at the Black Stallion Winery offering patches of shade and a cool break from the hot California sun.

The small bites at Robert Sinskey along with the discovery of their vibrant Abraxas vin de terroir.

The drive up and down the hill to Pride Mountain Vineyards and the reward of sipping a Viognier in front of what is probably the best view in all the Valley.

The beautifully recreated Italian grounds at the Jacuzzi Winery.

And the best for last – elegantly mixing a centerpiece courtyard, an outdoor fireplace, wonderful wines, original food and a view – Ram’s Gate in Sonoma.

Napa surprised me.

It breathes a certain vibrant Mediterranean flavor marrying local with foreign styles, traditions and cultures.

Napa is a bit like fusion cooking. Or just like its wines – it has this exotic appeal in its landscapes yet proudly displays and has developed complex characteristics with a vintage quality.

Powerful but supple. Lighter and almost palatable.

Definitely more casual and a lot groovier than I had imagined.

One fact that will probably surprise most of my French readers is that the wine region of Napa Valley has the highest Michelin star concentration in the world.

14 stars were awarded to the region’s restaurants – more than any other wine region in the world.

A fertile farming region paired with a diverse culinary scene makes for an immensely satisfying array of food choices.

Being back in San Francisco felt like a breath of fresh air.

The unavoidable daily workout provided from walking up and down the hills as the city shares some of its quaintest and quirkiest secrets.

I am always in awe at the richness of San Francisco’s Chinatown. A tiny microcosm in the big city yet a giant subject on its own to explore, study and discover over and over.

I photographed the colors. The shapes. Looking up, down, twisting my head in all directions. I couldn’t capture it all.

Just like a kid, I take great pleasure at climbing the biggest San Francisco slopes because you never know what unseen treasures you might discover once all the way at the top.

The goal is to resist temptation while climbing – the temptation to turn around and admire the view of the Bay that is.

And just like that, once at the top, I turn around and take it all in.

Alcatraz, the Bay, the ocean, the wind on my face and a great sentiment of satisfaction that I am one step higher and can start exploring a new area.

Since I mention the Bay, if you’ve never been to Sausalito across from San Francisco, treat yourself and take the boat to spend a day there.

Not only you will get to spend some time at the Ferry Building before taking the boat but you will be able to eat at Bar Bocce for lunch – where the water comes right up to the edge of the restaurant and where the fire pit makes for a cosy spot among friends who watch other friends play bocce (Frenchies, understand this as the Italian version of pétanque).

But I was here for a wedding.

And with the bride’s authorization, I am able to talk about it here and show you some of the pictures.

“A.” is probably one of the first person I met back when I moved to the States in Milwaukee, WI. She was sitting next to me in our Advanced English Grammar class.

She was intrigued by my “Frenchness”. I was fascinated by her energy.

She talked to me right away. I was probably still standing up next to my chair removing my coat when she asked me where I was from.

Fresh off the boat, I couldn’t help but think that she probably was an annoying talker trying to chat with everyone. Why is she talking to me?

Pourquoi moi ? <French shoulder shrug> So American!

I give her most of the credit for subtly teaching me about Americans’ social skills and how to go about in this new country of mine.

I felt adopted and somehow protected under her wings. And trust me, her wings are the most loving, generous and comfortable wings to be nestled under.

She moved away. I did too. And we’re still linked. Very much so.

Three weeks ago, when the door of the Chapel at the Presidio of San Francisco opened to let her and her dad appear in front of all of us as they were surrounded by the bright white light coming down from the upper windows located on the outside doors, I thought… a stunning bride!

A stunning friend!

The reception was intimate.

Happiness and joy pouring out of the guests spread faster than wild fire.

The bright light coming inside Garibaldi’s created this airy, beautiful atmosphere sending all of us into a daydream land.

Bursting open with joy, John and “A.” were inspiring and touching.

I wish them a lifetime of happiness together.

When John told me about his idea for Le Frenchie Burger, I knew I wanted it on the blog.

A bunch of my French readers asked me for more American-style recipes, yet not necessarily all-American.

Something with a twist.

Very much like what Napa is – Le Frenchie Burger is a fusion of American and French culinary styles.

It’s an open-faced burger featuring some of France’s favorites: bread, Roquefort, cream and shallots.

What’s not to like? C’est délicieux ! 

And in honor of “A.” and John, I used their wedding favor to prepare my Frenchie Burger – a home-made spicy paprika olive oil – to grill the French bread.

Le Frenchie Burger was dubbed Le Gut Buster by John himself.

When trying out the recipe myself this past week, I made normal sized burgers as well as mini burgers to eat and enjoy in 2 or 3 bites. They were lighter and as wonderful as a full-sized one.

Les Minis Frenchie Burgers !

Thank you again to Chef John for sharing his recipe and allowing me to post it on Frenchie and the Yankee.

It’s an honor!

I will be back soon with Part Deux of the wedding season in Spain with new photos and a recipe.

Le Frenchie Burger – Open-Faced Burger with Caramelized Shallots and Roquefort Sauce by Chef John Beardsley

Serves 4 people

for the beef:

2 lbs (1 kg) beef – ground Chuck (80/20)

Fresh ground black pepper

Kosher salt (I used a Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt from here)

for the blue cheese sauce:

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

4 ounces (113 g) Roquefort (or your favorite blue cheese)

Fresh ground black pepper

for the caramelized shallots:

1 Ib (453 g) fresh shallots

1 bunch fresh thyme – chopped

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

putting it together:

Four 3/4 in. (about 2 cm) thick slices of levain or other country-style French bread

olive oil

4 ounces (113 g) Roquefort (or your favorite blue cheese)

Parsley or chives – chopped

Preheat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C).

Divide the ground beef into 4 patties. Shape into half in. (1.2 cm) thick patties to match bread slices.

Season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the blue cheese sauce, put the cream in a small sauce pan and reduce over medium heat to half a cup (125 ml). Whisk continuously and make sure it does not boil over.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the blue cheese until smooth. Season generously with black pepper and keep warm.

To prepare the caramelized shallots, peel them and halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones.

Place in a medium bowl, toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and the chopped thyme.

Place in an oven-proof roasting pan and roast stirring every 10 minutes until soft and caramelized  (about 40 to 60 minutes). (I placed the pan on the lowest rack in the oven).

Keep warm when done.

Preheat the grill and cook the beef patties to desired donenesss. Remove the burgers from the heat and let rest at least 5 minutes.

While the burgers are resting, brush the bread slices lightly with olive oil and grill lightly until toasted and hot. Place the burgers on the grilled bread slices.

Top the burgers with the caramelized shallots. Divide the remaining blue cheese in 4 and sprinkle on top of the shallots.

Place on a cooking sheet in the oven for 1 minute to warm the cheese.

Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate. Pour the blue cheese sauce over the top and finish with chopped parsley or chives and black pepper.

Serve with crispy pommes frites!

Frenchie and the American Robots

12 Mar

Americans are programmed!

Yes, they are!

Well, I’m almost certain they are.

I should add that I strongly believe they unknowingly might get programmed at birth. Or so it seems.

It appeared to me very early on when I moved here.

And my research lead me to conclude that Americans were in fact implanted with the HHRU chip.

A chip so effective and cunning only the CIA could be involved in such a coverup of “chipping” babies without parents noticing.

Parents who themselves are probably chipped anyway.

Have you not heard of the HHRU chip?

It’s not an urban legend. Oh it’s out there!

The HiHowRU chip! Yes, it’s been around for decades!

As a young Parisian moving to 123 Kind Rd, Beautiful Green Friendly Midwest, USA, it takes a while to adapt to the gallons of niceness poured over brand new transplants and foreigners.

Coated I was! Coated with sticky, gooey, sweet kindness. Almost like a peanut brittle feels on your teeth and fingers after eating too much of it – and I have eaten a lot of it!

There I was – a human peanut brittle! All nicely coated. Except for the crunchiness… although… But I shouldn’t switch the topic.

Walking along Lake Michigan with friends on a Midwestern summery Sunday morning, leisurely enjoying the soft sun and the sounds of the small waves crashing near by, my peace and quiet was always ultimately disturbed and spammed by unfamiliar high-pitched noises. Hi how you are today?

HIIII, good morning!

‘Morning, folks!

I have to admit something. The first time I heard those noises, I panicked. If you’re new and you don’t know the Law of the Land, you can be overwhelmingly clueless on how to properly ignore and shush those noises away.

Oh la la! I thought. Who are those pesky people demanding to be noticed and acknowledged asking me how I’m doing today. None of your business…. how rude!

And I noted to my friends You do know a lot of people! Look, they all wave and smile.

We don’t know them, we’re just friendly here.

And there I was! Labeled as “not polite”. Put back in my Parisian French box and stuck in it. Get this… I was apparently the one being rude! Moi! 

All those friendly American fingers pointing at French rude me.

The chip works pretty effectively most of the time.

I say most of the time because it can happen that – and I don’t want to sound French-rude – Americans get stuck in some sort of never-ending-friendly-loop, which tells me they need to release a new version of that HHRU chip très bientôt.

Have you ever seen someone’s chip bugging? Or with an apparent defective firewall almost needing assistance and a good Stepford-Wives-reset?

It goes something like: Hihowareyou?Goodhowareyou?Goodandyou?Good,howareyou?Goodthankyou,andyou?

It’s very hard to get out of this messy loop for some.

Like slapping the TV remote or computer when they start going crazy, it’s awkward to watch it unfold and even more difficult to handle when you are the one being looped in this whirl of we’re-too-polite-to-not-answer-madness.

It’s disturbing. But it’s hilarious when it happens.

The first time I saw it, I had to step back in case of an imminent explosion of the American device. You never know!

The second time, I understood I was safe so I played along with it. The ultimate goal wasn’t to clear the kindly sweet American device from all its cookies and cache. Nor was it to crash the hardware. But introducing a Trojan application for some fun malicious action always makes me giggle.

And here’s how that Trojan malware works. If you finish your sentences with the same interrogative and you? back at Americans, it short circuits the entire system and prolongs the excitement – or at least my excitement.

The loop continues. It just won’t end. Trust me, I’ve tried many times.

Now, you don’t want to end up with a sad Mac icon though so don’t abuse of it. But the sparkles it creates are a definite treat!

My friend “I.” recently told me of a work story, which is the best place EVER to observe these Netiquette loops of friendly American sparkles.

As he was calling someone on the phone and began a normal conversation with the typical mundane Hello?, the robot on the other side of the line had already anticipated my friend’s move and said Good and you? without any prompting question.

Dun Dun Dun!

This is a lot scarier than I had anticipated.

What this means is that HHRU robots have now evolved and are able to think independently and adapt to situations.

They don’t wait to hear for your How are you? first, they sneakily already know what you are about to ask. This is a new breed!

The Japanese must be behind this!

A new era is upon us!

Back in the days, my first reactions to these friendly rather pointed and invasive questions – and I ask, who’s rude after all? – were your typical French behavior when feeling caught and stuck in a corner.

Disbelief. Did he just ask me how I’m doing?

Hypnic jerk. What do I say now?

Recoiling at the invasion of privacy. Do I have to answer?

And then ending with one of the best French facial traits ever invented – the embarrassed non-smile.

A smile without being a smile. A little grin. A hidden-seeming-corner-smile.

Here’s how it works:

The French Program called Movement of the Lips is quickly installed internally.

The muscles are already activated. The upper lip raises a bit; spasming like a blinking cursor.

But ultimately the brain-modem takes over and with a deep internal echoed voice Why do you smile, you don’t know him cancels the entire launch of the French Smile Application.

Oh those French computer programs!

This reminds me of the first time I came face to face with a mac and cheese dish.

There too, I panicked. Again, something sticky, gooey and coated. Oh, it’s coated! Not sweet though, but dramatically orange.

There is no way I am eating an orange sauce I thought! Maybe they won’t notice if I elegantly and casually crash all of them robots on a continuous loop. I thought I’d be able to trick them and mess with the motherboard.

You like mac and cheese, dear?

Think quickly, think quickly. Mess with the system… Trojan application… Good and you?

Oh I love it, that’s why I made it for you! It’s an American classic.

It didn’t work! Reboot! Abort!

I always avoided Gouda as a child. How can an orange cheese be tasty? Must be a Dutch cheese!

What’s in it? I asked twitching.

Macaroni with a cheese sauce, made with orange cheddar.

Chez who? Chez what? I thought. Orange what?

Somehow I managed to avoid eating mac and cheese for years. I stayed far, far away.

And then I found out it also came in a box. I collapsed in the aisle of the supermarket between Rice-A-Roni and all the Kraft products.

But finally one day, I experienced homemade mac and cheese. It was… good!

I always thought it lacked a great deal of herbs and meat. Something spicier, something different. And this cheese sauce just cannot be orange! Period.

Lesson learned over the years: smile when you can, it’s not that bad. It certainly beats the frozen Parisian FNAC and BHV workers.

And when it comes to mac and cheese, well of course I had to make my own recipe. Crafted and improved over the years.

It’s a winner! And it’s not orange, évidemment. It’s actually green, which is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Saturday.

It’s packed with Asian basil, gooey with béchamel, including nutritiously digestible whole wheat pasta, flavored with truffle oil, sticky and sharpened with white Irish cheddar cheese and topped with blackened chicken.

Such a kind, friendly, nice dish after all! Non?

And once you dig into your plate and let that round belly stick out because you ate too much of it – trust me, you’re gonna want to go back for seconds – you’ll be able to answer your dinning companions once they ask How are you?… Really good actually, thanks for asking!

Asian Basil Béchamel Mac and Cheese with Truffle Oil Flavors and Blackened Chicken

for the blackened chicken – will make 4 pieces:

1 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds – crushed to end up with 1.5 teaspoon total

1.5 teaspoon of Maras peppers  – medium heat Turkish pepper

1 teaspoon Aji Panca Chile – mild-heat and fruity Peruvian pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

0.5 teaspoon Ancho Chile – hotter Mexican pepper

0.5 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Prepare a baking sheet and butter it all over.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature.

With a mortar and pestle, crush the mustard seeds until ground. Add the other spices, mix and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet until very hot. It should take 5 minutes on high heat.

Use 1 Tbsp of olive per piece to coat the chicken.

Rub the chicken on all sides with the spices. If you have left over, sprinkle it all over.

Delicately place the pieces of chicken in the hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side. Repeat the operation twice so they cook 4 minutes on each side total.

When done, place the chicken on the buttered baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes per side – 30-40 minutes total. Depending how thick your pieces are, check every 5 minutes to see if the meat is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let it cool.

for the pasta:

2 cups (~ 227 g) whole wheat pasta – elbows

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Boil salted water in a sauce pan with olive oil.

Cook the pasta until al dente according to the time indicated on the package.

for the béchamel:

1 small onion – finely chopped

4 Tbsp (55 g) of butter

1/4 cup (30 g) of flour

3 cups (70 cl) of whole milk

1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

3-5 drops of truffle oil

3 rosemary sprigs

1.5 cup (67-70 g) Asian basil – tightly packed

1 teaspoon of sea salt


Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and pour the flour delicately over the onion. Stir quickly and make what we call a roux in French.

Continuously stir for 1-2 min. Do not let the roux brown.

Add the milk gradually and whisk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat but do not let it boil.

Turn the heat to low and add the nutmeg and truffle oil. Stir continuously and simmer for 10 minutes, until it thickens a bit.

Prepare a food processor or blender with the basil and rosemary leaves in it. Transfer half of the béchamel in the blender and keep the other half in the pan.

Pulse the béchamel and herbs until combined and very smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Return the basil sauce to the pan. Stir to blend and mix both batches of the béchamel together.

Taste for salt and pepper if necessary as well as nutmeg and truffle oil. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, continue to simmer for another 3-5 minutes.

putting it all together:

0.5 cup (~ 115 g) of shaved Parmesan cheese – tightly packed. I prefer shaved to grated.

1 cup (235 g) of sharp white Irish cheddar – grated

Add the cheeses to the pan. Do not overly mix.

Pour the cooked pasta in the pan over the Asian basil béchamel and cheeses and stir. Make sure the pasta is well-coated in the end.

If you find the sauce isn’t thick enough or that you have too much of it, use a colander to get rid of the excess sauce.

Slice the chicken thinly and serve the pasta warm with chicken on the side or on top.

Sprinkle with the spice mix used for the chicken if you have any left.

%d bloggers like this: