Cheese, Glorious Cheese: #SpicyChat is Celebrating All Things Cheese!

The perennial questions, if you were to be stranded on an island, what food would you carry or what would your last meal include? For me undoubtedly it would have to include CHEESE, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, Soccetterne, or an aged Mimolette. Today #Spicychat is celebrating all things cheese. Be it a cocktail party with indulgent artisanal cheeses or a perfectly grilled and gooey cheese sandwich for your four year old, there is a special place in our hearts for cheese.

With winter knocking at our doors, our palates & our bodies crave warming comfort foods, not to mention the barrage of holiday parties. Whether you are munching on cheese with your wine, enjoying some shaved Parmigiano accenting your salad, or baking a batch of your most flavorful mac and cheese for a family meal; cheese is all around us.

The menu for today’s Cheese themed #spicychat includes the classic mac and cheese with my twist. And for the spice/cheese lovers, I have created a mac and cheese tossed in a spicy poblano bechamel, topped with walnut crumble. For the sweet finale, I am baking a sweet ricotta pie, delicate and sublime.


Roasted Poblano Bechamel with Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is an eternal classic dish that will still be appearing on cheese lovers tables hundred of years from now. Of course, with the ever-changing palates, macaroni and cheese certainly doesn’t taste the same as it did back in the days. To make mac and cheese truly your own, get creative with the cheese and throw in some spices or herbs to the mix. After all, our palates are a playground for all things delicious….Here I have used a combination of goat cheese, mozzarella, and brie to create a cheesy and gooey casserole. Add some roasted poblanos and jalapeno, it is #SpicyChat drool worthy!!

Since I enjoy a crunchy crust and crave the creaminess, the textural interplay of walnuts and panko seals the deal, making it irresistible.


  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz brie
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons fresh thyme or oregano
  • 1/2 tsp  nutmeg powder
  • 2 cups whole milk (substitute with non-fat or 1%)
  • 1/2 lb penne or pasta shape of preferance
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 jalapeno
  • 2 poblano peppers (roasted & peeled)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the bechamel sauce: melt 2 tbs butter in a wide pan, saute onion till soft, add flour and cook for 1 minute on low heat. Stir in garlic, fresh herbs, and nutmeg. Slowly add milk while stirring constantly till smooth and thickened. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Puree in blender with poblano peppers and jalapenos. Keep warm.
  3. Add all the cheeses to the pureed sauce until stir until the cheese is melted. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
  4. Boil pasta as per instructions on the box. Drain and drizzle some EVOO. Stir in the poblano bechamel.
  5. In a wide pan melt the remaining 2 tbs spoons butter. Add walnuts and panko and sauté till golden brown.
  6. In a medium-sized gratin pan or individual baking dishes spread the pasta and sauce mix. Top with walnut crumble and bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve warm.

Macaroni & Cheese ‘My Way’

Classic mac and cheese at its best:  gets a suave twist with the addition of Gruyere, brie, and bacon. The hint of mustard and smoked paprika is a refreshing twist to the classic bechamel and cheese sauce, one that even the fussiest kids will appreciate. After all it was created by the biggest kid of all – ME!!



  • 1 cup gruyère or gouda cheese, grated (4 oz.)
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (4 oz.)
  • 1 cup brie or taleggio (4 oz.)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons fresh thyme or rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1 tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lb pasta shape of choice
  • Truffle oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta as per instructions on the box. Drain and drizzle with EVOO.
  3. Make the bechamel sauce: Melt 2 tbs butter in a wide pan, add flour and cook on low heat for 1 minute. Add garlic cloves, mustard, paprika, cardamom powder, and slowly stir in milk until smooth. Add all cheeses till it is melted. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. (The cheeses in the recipe are salty, so be careful while adding salt).
  4. Toss pasta and cheese sauce together. Check seasonings for salt and pepper.
  5. Saute bread crumbs in the remaining 2 tbs butter until golden brown. Stir in crumbled bacon and chopped parsley.
  6. Spread the pasta in a medium-sized baking dish. Top with bacon crumble and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve warm with drizzle of truffle oil.


After a spicy meal, enjoy this sweet and delicate ricotta pie to finish your comforting and spicy meal. With bites of chocolate and orange zest, it is the ideal finale to your spicy meal. Or like me relish it over breakfast with a cup of freshly brewed espresso. Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate and orange zest take this pie to the next level of decadence. Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.


Now that I have got your palate drooling, do share your all time favorite cheeses. I would love to hear from you….

For more delicious inspirations, join us tonight for a #SpicyChat CHEESE Party at 8 PM EDT on Twitter.

Join Us Every Thursday at 8 PM EDT for #SpicyChat Twitter Chat to bring some spice in your lives! We Love to share ALL recipes. Simply add the #Spicychat hashtag to your link, we will RT and also add your recipes to our Pinterest Board. For more spicy inspirations, join our #SpicyChat FB Page.

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