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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

and

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

anchovies

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 Julia Child

17 Jul

Would it be horribly uneducated of me, or perhaps just plain shamefully ignorant, to say that I had never heard of Julia Child until shortly after moving to the U.S. when someone looked at me with eyes the size of big round crêpes and guffawed You’re French and you don’t know who she is?

Phew! Glad we got this out of the way. More on that later…

For my fellow francophone readers – Julia Child is an American culinary icon and she would have turned 100 years-old this year on August 15.

For Julia, a simple lunch of sole meunière – her first meal in Paris – was life changing and inspired her 40-year love affair with food and the start of a cooking revolution in America.

This is why in her honor, YC Media and Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., launched the JC100 national campaign involving restaurants, chefs, bookstores, and bloggers, all celebrating Julia and her legacy.

Their goal is to raise one million voices in tribute to Julia, and I am extremely honored I was asked to participate.

A panel of culinary luminaries, including celebrity chef Thomas Keller and food writer Amanda Hesser, has selected their most beloved 100 Julia Child recipes and since May 7th, one of her many recipes is highlighted every Monday.

This week (Week 11), Julia Child’s ratatouille recipe was chosen.

A simple and delicious side dish.

And with the first fresh tomatoes, zucchini and herbs recently picked from the garden, what a wonderful way to cook with them and bring her culinary spirit into the kitchen with her ratatouille – or as she used to say “perfume the kitchen with the essence of Provence”.

Non, je ne connais pas Julia Child !

This was the sentence I never thought would create such bewilderment.

But if you think about it, why would an American chef with a TV show called The French Chef teaching Americans how to cook French with a goal to introduce the basics of French cooking to American homes as an option for home-cooking when it was still considered high-end cuisine be well-known in France?

I never grew up with Julia Child. And nor did my parents or my grand-parents.

Always a challenging realization for Americans when their cherished thoughts that the French also lived glued to their TV sets watching Julia cook with her energetic confidence got crushed.

All the more reasons for me to catch up with lost time and discover who Julia Child was.

Julia Child is the All-American French Chef.

She loved Paris. She loved France.

She had an extensive knowledge about French cooking and food that she shared with Americans on TV as early as 1962.

When I asked my friends about their memories of Julia Child, the recurrent answers were:

her legendary good humor and joie de vivre

an American icon

her low-key bloopers and delightful personality

her voice

Queen of the kitchen

French food made easy for everyone

family time learning how to cook French in front of the TV

a real person

Julia Child – still very much relevant today as people remember her and her tremendous achievement as she singlehandedly revolutionized Americans’ perception of what cooking, good food and French cuisine are all about.

What I find even more extraordinary is that her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking was and still is a staple item in American kitchens – including my foodie friends – who continuously refer to Julia’s recipes.

The Bible of all cookbooks.

A book made so easy and clear to follow, anyone can cook.

And everybody should cook.

Just follow Julia Child.

C’est simple !

So I would like to ask you, what is your fondest memory of Julia Child?

How has she changed your views on cooking, on using fresh ingredients, and on French cuisine?

Do you own her book? Do you still cook with it?

Feel free to comment about Julia Child and her life’s work in the comments section.

And for my francophone readers who never had the pleasure to watch her in action, this video should do the trick.

And since she lived 4.5 miles (7 km) away from me, I couldn’t not go take a walk in her neighborhood in Cambridge, MA near Harvard Square and take a picture of her old house.

I don’t know if I was still smelling her ratatouille from my kitchen but it almost felt like scents of Provence were still lingering around her old stomping ground.

The ratatouille is Julia Child’s recipe from her book.

I have added the converted measurements for those who do not cook with pounds and cups.

The ingredients and instructions in bold and italics are Frenchie and the Yankee’s own additions to her already fantastic recipe – to put a spin on it.

I like my ratatouille with a lemony spicy taste and the addition of the lavender sugar makes for a sweet floral kick reminiscing of the lavender of Provence floating in the air.

And as she would have said herself: Bon appétit !

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Julia Child’s Ratatouille

Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

For 6 to 8 people

1 lb. (0.4 kg) eggplant

1 lb. (0.4 kg) zucchini

A 3-quart (2.85 l), porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl

1 teaspoon salt

Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) thick, about 3 inches (7.62 cm) long, and 1 inch (2.54 cm) wide. Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain. Dry each slice in a towel.

A 10- to 12-inch (25.4 to 30.48 cm) enameled skillet

4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed

One layer at a time, sauté the eggplant, and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. Remove to a side dish.

1/2 lb. (226 g) – about 1.5 cup – thinly sliced yellow onions

remove some of the yellow onions to add thinly sliced half a red onion and 1 shallot

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers

only 1 green pepper but add 1 orange pepper

2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil, if necessary

2 cloves mashed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season to taste.

1 lb. (0.4 kg) firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced (makes 1.5 cups pulp)

grated zest of 1 organic lemon

1 teaspoon of lavender sugar (or use regular blonde cane sugar or light brown sugar instead)

salt and pepper

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8-inch (9.5 mm) strips. Lay them over the onions and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil for several minutes, until juice has almost entirely evaporated. Finely grate the lemon zest and sprinkle with the sugar over the tomatoes. Mix.

A 2.5 quart (2.37 l) fireproof casserole about 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) deep

3 tablespoons minced parsley

3 tablespoons minced basil

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons minced oregano

a pinch of hot red pepper flakes

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole and sprinkle over it 1 tablespoon of parsley. Add 1 tablespoon of basil as well. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half of the remaining tomatoes and parsley plus basil. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley/basil.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices. Correct seasoning, if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil. Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.

Set aside uncovered. Reheat slowly at serving time, or serve cold.

I served my ratatouille in individual containers.

Sprinkle with oregano and red pepper flakes on top before serving.

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

pepper

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.

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