January 24, 2014 by caitlinvaclark
Ahh the options. There are just so damn many guilty pleasures in life. Some of them are even foods. Guilty can be expensive, fatty, greasy, trashy, sweet, salty, sweet & salty, boozy, smothered in Cheese Whiz, or covered with truffles.
For me, guilty pleasures are about the timing or situation as much as they are about the food. Having cake for breakfast. Making an appetizer and cocktail at home before dinner on a weekday evening. Going for that extra serving of something when you are already full and don’t need it. Allowing yourself a “bottomless” Sunday when you’ve had too much fun on Saturday. Or meeting friends for a bottomless mimosa brunch that leads to said Sunday.
Now for total confession time. If I have a rare night alone when Chris is at a work dinner or traveling, I love finding a great movie or TV marathon, ordering Chinese takeout, pouring a glass of wine, and getting in bed. Yes, eating in bed. Yes, there might be a soy sauce stain or two on my comforter. It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure situation.
But back to food indulgences. If we’re talking about an anytime guilty pleasure it’s cheeeeeeeeze. I really really love cheese. Grazing at the cheese station at a cocktail party, guilty. Ending a fancy meal with a cheese course, even guiltier. But an entirely cheese-centric dinner, the guiltiest.
I love a quatro formaggi pizza and this may sound crazy but for some reason a big bowl of pasta seems like a guiltier pleasure. So for this week’s “taste” I took my favorite pizza toppings and made a huge bowl of pasta. Don’t worry, we ate more than just these little bites.
Starting with a cream based sauce, mix in parmesan cheese and season with white pepper. At this point you’ve basically made Alfredo sauce.
But then we get crazy with lots more cheese. You can really add any cheeses you like, but I went with my favorite pizza cheeses: mozzarella, taleggio, and gorgonzola. And use fresh pasta for this dish! It’s a guilty pleasure so make it as perfect as possible. Toss about half the sauce with the cooked pasta to loosen, then add more sauce until it is all evenly coated.
One of my favorite versions of quattro formaggi pizza has nothing but the cheeses and red onions on it. So I thought grilling onions under the broiler would be a perfect addition and cut the creaminess of this dish. Then since we are making it super guilty, why not indulge with some strips of really good aged prosciutto.
Warning, don’t eat this every day of the week.
Extra Indulgent Quattro Formaggi Pasta
Serves 6 big bowls
1 red onion, sliced
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups cream
½ cup milk
3 Tbs butter
3 oz. parmesan
2 oz. mozzarella
2 oz. gorgonzola
2 oz. taleggio
¼ tsp white pepper
Salt to taste
18 oz fresh pasta
4 slices prosciutto, cut into strips
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Spread onion slices onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook under the broiler until browned. Turn over and crisp slightly on the other side. Reserve.
Add cream, milk, and butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter has melted simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and add parmesan and white pepper and whisk to combine. Add the remaining cheese, stir until melted, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add salt if necessary, but taste first!
Cook fresh pasta for 3 minutes, or according to package.
Toss pasta with sauce and serve topped with grilled onions and prosciutto.