Garden Basil Bucatini with Parmigiano Reggiano

Garden Basil Bucatini with Parmesan_By Natalie ParamoreWhat better simple pleasure is there than a fine cheese? Well if you’re me, not much! Truly, I can make an entire meal out of cheese and it’s practically a major food group in my diet. BMW doesn’t consider it a meal unless there’s meat involved and I sorta feel the same way about cheese. Ok maybe not every meal but you know what I’m sayin! I usually find just about any excuse to add a sprinkle here or there to juuuuuust about anything haha.

This recipe came about after a few things happened. First, I attended this amazing cheese event with Parmigiano Reggiano. Yes! There is actually a whole entire consorzio over in Italy dedicated to Parmesan! Not to be confused with the green bottle of ’90’s childhoods but actual real, delicious parmesan. The event was hosted by Parmigiano Reggiano at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop with local chef extrodianire Drew Curren of Italic, Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, arro and soon to be Irene’s. At the event we tasted three different types of parmesan and they walked us through the differences in each. It can’t be called Parmigiano Reggiano unless it’s been aged for at least 12 months and has the official dotted rind, so look for that when you’re shopping. We got to taste the milder 14 month cheese which is hard to find in the US simply because after it ages for hard to get here in time to be sold as a 14 month. The 24 month is the most common and middle of the road perfect for everything cheese and the 36 month is a bolder, stinker cheese that can add that distinct¬†flavor to any dish!¬†

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Mango Basil Spritzer

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For the holiday weekend I whipped up this little gem of a frozen spritzer cocktail. Super fresh and light, it’s perfect for these hot Texas summers. I made this drink with the help of my friends at the National Mango Board. They sent me over some delicious mangoes and these festive straws and let me go at it. One of my favorite flavor combinations is mango and basil, have you ever tried it? The fruitiness of the mango really balances well with some fresh herbalicious basil. I mean, I may have spent a good 5 minutes just sniffing the basil, wait, you mean you don’t do that? I really just can’t get enough of the herbs, plus it’s high basil season which means this leafy herb is extra potent right now. Even better, this cocktail only requires 3 ingredients so its perfect to make on the fly for guests or by the pitcher for gatherings.

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All you need are:

2 cups fresh sliced mangoes

1 bottle of bubbles

1/4 fresh basil leaves

optional: ice

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Add the fresh mango and basil to a blender.

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Pour in the bubbles.

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Add a little ice for texture and coolness. About a cup of ice, the more ice, the more thick the drink will become once blended.

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Blend until smooth, about 45 seconds in the blender and serve! Yup, that’s it!

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Pretty sure I will be keeping this cocktail around all summer! What’s your favorite summer cocktail?

*The National Mango Board sent me mangoes to make this post. The recipe and thoughts are all my own.*

Breadless Grilled Cheese: 3 Ways

April is National Grilled Cheese Month! To celebrate, I did a roundup of some delicious looking grilled cheeses that I want to make.

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But I thought, what about all my gluten free friends? So, I whipped up these breadless grilled cheeses for Brit+Co. . These Avocado Latkes are ahhhhazingg. Also great for breakfast!

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Sauteed Portabella with Gruyere

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Or how about this Grilled Caprese?

Click here for the full how-to.

Which is your favorite?