Pasta and cheese with caramelized shallots and crispy sage

February 17, 2010

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Serves 8

The buttermilk, cream, and cheddar are nostalgic, while the addition of caramelized shallots and sage add a modern touch.

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound orecchiette
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large shallots, finely chopped
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 cups shredded gruyere
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Drain into a colander.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes or until they caramelize.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk and cream. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a light boil. Simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Lower the heat add cheddar, gruyere, salt, and pepper.

4. In the pasta pot, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add sage and turn off the heat. Add the cheese sauce, pasta, and shallots. Stir gently but thoroughly. Adapted from