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Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes {Recipe}

Recipe for Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Photo credit: Matt Armendariz

Authors Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord on Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes:

Native to Catalonia, Spain,  Garrotxa is a throaty, goaty cheese that impairs an almost Cheddar-like tanginess. A gray mold blankets this pasteurized flavor titan, which gets its smooth earthiness from the lush coastal grasses that feed the goats raised to make it. Cutting away the rind on this firm cheese is easy, and a sharp knife run down the sides will shave off the moldy exterior without sacrificing much of the Garrotxa beneath.

Here, Garrotxa coalesces with two other signature Spanish ingredients, sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham, to create an ethereal cheese gratin polished with just a touch of butter, mold, and crème fraîche. This recipe isn’t your typical melty, creamy macaroni and cheese; rather, it’s a drier dish that allows the ingredients to mingle coyly while remaining somewhat independent.

Penne with Goat Cheese, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Photo Credit: Alice, Hip Foodie Mom

Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Alice, on Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

When it came down to choosing a recipe to highlight for you today, the decision was a hard one. At the time, I was in Minneapolis staying with my sister, so she played a part in the decision-making process. After about 10 minutes of, “Oh, make that one!” or “Oh my gawd, that looks amazing!,” we mutually decided to make the Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

Loaded with a Spanish goat cheese, this dish does not disappoint. The ham and the sun-dried tomatoes, “two other signature Spanish ingredients,” add just the right flavor and texture. This was really delicious. I was going to change it up just a bit and add some Dijon mustard into the cream sauce, but I decided to stay true to the recipe and followed it exactly. I’m so glad I did. Garrett and Stephanie created a really easy, quick, brilliant, and absolutely delicious dish here. My sister, brother-in-law, and I gobbled this up. Down to the very last bite. It was amazing.

A few notes:

1. If you can’t find Garrotxa cheese, don’t sweat it. Ask the cheese guy at your grocery store to recommend something close to it. Or maybe try a drunken goat cheese from Spain.
2. I used dried sun-dried tomatoes (not the tomatoes that are jarred in oil).
3. I highly suggest following this recipe exactly. Just try it. It’s delicious. The next time you make it, you can change it up. This recipe is extremely easy, satisfying, and delicious.

Cooks&Books&Recipes Editors’ Note:

P.S. Thanks to publisher Little, Brown, and Company, we are giving away a copy of Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese to one lucky Cooks&Books&Recipes readers. Be sure to enter the giveaway here!

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese cookbook cover - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

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Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Featured Recipe From: Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces penne
  • 1 pound Garrotxa, shredded
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 6 ounces Serrano ham slices, torn coarsely by hand into chunks

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, combine cheese, milk, crème fraîche, and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese is mostly melted and you have a creamy sauce. To keep the cheese sauce from breaking, remove the sauce from the heat before the cheese is entirely melted. Season with pepper, adding more to taste if you like.

4. In a shallow buttered casserole dish, toss pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham. Pour the sauce over the pasta, then stir together until combined. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.

Alternative cheeses: Ibores, Twig Farm Goat Tomme, Bardwell Farm’s Equinox

Wine pairings: Txakoli, Catalonian white wine, Grüner Veltliner

Additional pairings for the cheese: fig jam, picholine olives

© 2013 Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

Reprinted with permission from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord (Little, Brown, and Company). All rights reserved.

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