This recipe is totally 80′s. Think black and white and brass, neon, dangly earrings and asymmetrical haircuts. Skinny ties, pegged jeans, New Wave, and pasta. Here’s an 80′s photo to go with it.
Nana with my first-cousin-once-removed Roger, some 80′s Christmas night. Roger is one of the “Minnesota Cousins”, the son of Nana’s brother Bill, but he had moved out to San Francisco so he hung out with us for the holidays a lot. He is no longer with us either, and I miss him. He was pretty awesome. Dig Roger’s Duran Duran jacket and Nana’s leopard print. And strangely, their nearly identical haircuts. Of course I probably thought their outfits were so EMBARRASSING because I was 14. But now at the wise old age of um, 28, I can see plainly that they are mind-blowingly AWESOME.
So, I remembered to take pictures of your needed groceries. Except on the first one, I forgot the butter. And on the second one, I had moved and chopped the shallot. So whatever. First, put your water on to boil and cook the pasta until it’s a little short of al dente.
These pictures pretty much suck because 1) it was nighttime and I don’t use flash on food pictures, and 2) I was trying not to miss any of Ricky Gervais’ bits on the Golden Globes Sunday night. OMG that man is hilarious. And everyone was uncomfortable. BRILLIANT!
Melt the butter and saute the shallots until they are softened and cooked through.
Stir in a Tbsp or two of flour and let cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour in the half-and-half. Bring barely to a boil, lower heat and stir constantly until the mixture is slightly thickened.
Stir in the cheeses. Add some milk if it’s too thick.
Here’s your pasta that you cooked and set aside. Keep some of the pasta water, you might need it to loosen up the pasta later.
Pour on the sauce and mix it through. It’s a pretty thick mixture, so use the pasta water to loosen it as needed.
Add a bunch of chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper.
The recipe below does not make this amount of food. Don’t forget that I live with 2 teenagers who eat with the appetite of a starving Yeti.
This rich, rich, rich cheesy dish just screams for a simple salad to accompany it.
As you can see, it was a success.
And, my arteries are sufficiently clogged. And now we also know why Nana was a “traditionally built lady”.
Nana’s Spaghetti with Four Cheeses
Nana’s Spaghetti con Quattro Formaggi
8 oz. spaghetti (I used 1 lb. for the amounts of cheese, below)
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup provolone, grated
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 cup fontina, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1-1/2 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp parsley (I used a cup of fresh parsley, chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 used 1 shallot, minced
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Pour pasta into a large bowl and reserve pasta water.
Melt butter and cook shallot, if using, until soft and cooked through. Add the flour and stir through, cooking for 30 seconds to a minute. Gradually stir in the half-and-half, and cook until mixture boils and slightly thickens. Stir in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour sauce over pasta and toss. Top with freshly chopped parsley, and toss again.
Loosen pasta with reserved pasta water, if desired, and serve immediately.