La Tur Macaroni and Cheese with Nectarines and Fig Jam

La Tur Macaroni and Cheese with Nectarines and Fig Jam on http://www.theculinarylife.com
I’ve dabbled in cheese here on The Culinary Life, though I’ve never given it my full attention. Lately, though, my attention has turned to artisan cheeses and the huge variety of tastes and textures that milk can take on when manipulated by a master of dairy fermentation. Sure, I’m no Kirstin Jackson, but I’ve developed a love of soft, creamy cheeses that rivals my adoration for fine chocolates.

Eating cheese on its own is wonderful, but I’m a person who likes to take it a step further and ask, “What else can you do with this?” So while I still adore a well put together cheese plate, lately I’ve been thinking of ways to cook with artisan cheese. Purists might balk at the idea of heating these little works of art and mixing them with other ingredients, but from what I’ve learned over the past few years, artisan cheeses are ideal for cooking — especially when it comes to making splendid macaroni and cheese recipes.

I’ve got a few favorite soft cheeses, and vying for a spot in my top three is La Tur. This Italian variety is a blend of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk, giving it a gentle – but still uniquely complex – flavor profile. A little sweet, a little tart, a little salty, and a little sour, this uber-soft cheese is best enjoyed when it’s been allowed to ripen a bit, so that the gooshy external layer flows like warm butter across your tongue. It’s such a dreamy sensation that it might ruin you for all other cheeses.

Cooking with La Tur should be done carefully. While this cheese deserves the spotlight, it is easily overwhelmed by more intense flavors. Here I’ve paired it with the gentle tartness of nectarines and just a touch of fig jam, giving this macaroni and cheese recipe a richly sweet-tart flavor that plays across your taste buds like little cherubs tip-toeing over a bed of clouds. You’ll dream of it for days. I promise.

Also, my dear friend Garrett just posted another mac and cheese recipe that you really should check out: Cheese and China: Mahon Macaroni and Cheese with Zucchini and Chili Oil. Go! Read! Now!

5.0 from 1 reviews
La Tur Macaroni and Cheese Recipe with Nectarines and Fig Jam
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
La Tur cheese is paired with the gentle tartness of white nectarines and just a touch of fig jam, producing a dreamy, creamy sweet-tart flavor. If cooking with gluten-free noodles, cook them only halfway before draining them and adding to the ramekins. Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 fresh nectarines, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces uncooked small shell macaroni (use gluten-free noodles, if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 full wheels of La Tur cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fig jam
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C)
  2. Spread nectarines cubes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 5 minutes, or just until they begin to caramelize around the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, until just al dente. Drain the pasta through a colander. Fill four 8-ounce ramekins or mini cocottes with pasta, leaving 1/2 inch of room at the top.
  4. Remove and discard the hardest parts of the cheese’s rind – the remainder of which is not only edible, but delicious – and chop the wheel into small chunks. Divide into four equal portions.
  5. Place an equal portion of pasta, cheese and nectarine into each ramekin, sprinkling each with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Toss until well combined. Add 1/4 cup of cream to each ramekin.
  6. Place your ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cream has just thickened into a nice gratin. Slide ramekins into the broiler for a minute or two to brown the top.
  7. Top each ramekin with 1 tablespoon fig jam before serving. Serve immediately.

 

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Marianne says

    La Tur is also in my top 3! If you’ve never tried it drizzled in honey (or better yet, truffle honey!) I suggest you run out and do so immediately. I never thought to try such a luxurious cheese in mac ‘n’ cheese but I will definitely be giving this recipe a go.

    • Stephanie - Wasabimon says

      I have indeed tried it with truffle honey, and you’re right – it’s divine! I’m actually developing a recipe that uses both triple cream cheese and truffle honey.

  2. thad says

    oh gosh… this is so good… the bits of nectarine combined with the la tur has this sweet and rich flavour that never overwhelms but always has you wanting more…
    so good!!

    *NOMABLE*

  3. Garrett says

    This looks awesome, Steph. I love La Tur. This looks so dreamy and creamy. Lucky for me, I have a small piece of La Tur in my fridge so I think I’ll make a version of this with some white peaches I have. =D

  4. Gwen says

    I’m going to try this for a slow food potluck Monday night. That seems like a lot of cream and cheese for only 4 servings. If I make it in one large ramekin, do you think I can get more than 4 servings out of it? There will be other food there. LOVE the sound of the nectarines and figs combined with mac and cheese!

    • Stephanie - Wasabimon says

      Hi Gwen,

      It’s pretty rich, and if you serve it as a side dish, you could probably get 6 servings out of it. If you make it in one large ramekin, I’d cut the cream by 1/4.

  5. InTolerantChef says

    We don’t have the same culture of Mac’n’Cheese over here, but if anything was going to change that, I’m sure this recipe will! Great flavour mix, yumm…

  6. Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi says

    Oh WOW! The thought of nectarines, fig in a mac and cheese sounds amazing. I’m not sure if I can get La Tur in New Zealand-much less NORTHLAND, New Zealand-but it sounds divine.

    I’ll have access to a friend’s milking cow soon so I’ll be experiementing with cheesemaking. Who knows what I’ll come up with!

  7. Irvin @ Eat the Love says

    The idea of pairing nectarines & figs with mac and cheese sounds magical! I’ve actually never had La Tur but after reading the description of it over at “It’s Not You, It’s Brie” I am totally sold. What with you and Garrett’s post, I think I need me some Mac & Cheese ASAP.

  8. Kris @ Attainable Sustainable says

    I’ve never heard of La Tur, and like Melanie, I suspect I won’t find it here on my island. But this sounds divine!

  9. Susan says

    This sounds amazing!! I love artisan cheeses but lately I’ve begun to wonder if I might be lactose intolerant. I’m trying to reduce my dairy intake but it’s tough for someone who loves cheese so much.

  10. It's Not You, it's Brie says

    Thanks for the mention, Steph, and great idea to use La Tur in mac n cheese- its got a tanginess from the goat’s milk that helps cut the richness of the cream. Can’t wait to try it.

  11. judy stock says

    Steph, who can resist Mac & Cheese. Not me. This sounds wonderful. The only thing better than Mac & Cheese is a BLT! but they both rank very high with me.

    judy

  12. The Writer's [Inner] Journey says

    This seems at once elegant and hearty – if that’s possible! I think it is. Bottom line: it sounds wonderful.

  13. ruth pennebaker says

    If I were to eat only what I wanted to eat, mac and cheese would be on the menu a couple of times a week. This looks divine.

  14. MyKidsEatSquid says

    I’m discovering cheese now too. Lately I’ve been driving into Amish country for their Swiss cheese. It’s creamier and milder than the imported varieties. Very tasty.

  15. Alexandra says

    Loved this: “Sweet-tart flavor that plays across your taste buds like little cherubs tip-toeing over a bed of clouds.”

    • Leon says

      It’s so funny, my kids are the exact same way….one likes Brie, Sushi, Spinach and Mushrooms, the other one is a pretty good eater, but is picky in a dierffent way – wants to be able to identify all of her food and pretty basic stuff. We do pizza like this, but I have never tried the flatbread crust – will have to try this next time – very yummy!

  16. Gina von says

    What a great combo of flavors. I like the blend of the cheese and the fruit, very creative. And La Tur is a great artisan cheese!

  17. Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart says

    Oh boy. I knew I shouldn’t have put off reading this until right before dinner. Looks awesome.

  18. sarah henry says

    Love La Tur and the addition of nectarines and fig jam make this a go to dish for me. Inspired, Steph, thanks for sharing.

  19. Donna Hull says

    I’ve never heard of La Tur or combining fruit in macaroni and cheese. You’ve just broadened my cooking horizon. Thanks.

  20. Sam @ The Second Lunch says

    The only flaw with this recipe is trying to avoid eating all of the cheese before you start cooking the dish. Oh dear.

    • Thad Jones says

      this is simply one of the most divine dishes steph has made…. and she put this together in no time! we ate around 9pm due to trying to move her in to her new apt, her new job…
      that week was tuff! steph is incredible when it comes to pushing through the chaff, and the art the follows makes myself the luckiest man on earth!
      love that savory-sweet artist!

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