[dropcap1 color=”rosy”]I[/dropcap1] haven’t quite decided if this is an appropriate thing to admit or not, but I am just going to come out and say it because it has lead me to a beautiful recipe. I have found myself extremely interested in the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ series. I know, I know…NOT OK! I have never watched this show…yet, for some reason I found myself completely drawn in to the Beverly Hills series. Perhaps that is because I feel like Kyle might just be my long lost soul mate. Who knows, but every Thursday evening I tune in religiously to gawk at the ridiculously extravagant homes and lifestyle that these women possess.
On a much less gaudy scale is my new found group of lovely friends from St. Marks. We have bonded over play grounds, hospitals, the Treehouse, and Francesca’s countless times (somehow nanny and publicist free) so it was time to finally ring in the reunion of the show together. This was a big deal! If you watch the show you know that Lisa Vanderpump owns a stunning restaurant called ‘Villa Blanca.’ Everything is white – and beautiful. I knew I had a pretty big challenge ahead of me to try and mimic the Villa Blanca with my very traditional Villa Cape Cod.
I knew three things: 1. There had to be beautiful white flowers. 2. There had to be champagne, preferably pink for my Lisa and 3. There had to be an amazing and decadent dish that is as beautiful to pronounce as it is to eat. After countless recipe searches through my cookbooks, food network, and online I turned to Ina Garten for her take on ‘Conchiglie Al Forno’ by Johanne Killeen. Ravishing!
I will say this recipe isn’t the best if you plan on lounging pool side while being served cocktails in your little two piece, but hey, it’s ok to indulge from time to time, right? I did lighten up the recipe a bit. Refrain from making it weekly and you are all set to rock that two piece ‘Camille’ style. (Yikes!)
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, clean and trimmed (clean with a damp towel, never run mushrooms under water)
- 4 TBS unsalted butter, divided
- 2 TBS good olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups finely shredded radicchio
- 2 cups freshly washed spinach
- 2 & 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup coarsely shredded Fontina
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
- 2 tsp Ricotta
- 6 fresh sage leaves, julienned
- 1 lbs imported conchiglie rigate. Yes, it must be imported. This is Beverly Hills we are talking about!
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice 1/4 inch thick. Heat 2 TBS butter and 2 TBS good olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 tsp of salt. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are cooked through - 3 to 5 minutes. (Note, if you want a more 'mild' flavor from the radicchio you can saute it with the shiitake mushrooms for a few minutes. If you enjoy the more 'bitter' flavor of them naturally, leave them be.)
- In a large mixing bowl combine the mushrooms with the remaining ingredients and the 3/4 tsp of salt. Cook the pasta just shy of 'al dente' and then add as the final ingredient to the large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
- Divide the pasta mixture among 6 individual ceramic gratin dishes. Dot with the remaining 2 TBS of butter and bake until bubbly brown on top, about 7 - 10 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
- Serve a light salad on the side - to feel a little better about spring break approaching.
P.S. Is pink champagne somehow stronger than regular? Ouch.