• Tommy Centola

Recipes from upcoming book

For my 100th column, I shared with you two recipes from the second cookbook that I have written. I have been looking for a publisher who was willing to invest in my vision. ( My first publisher went out of business.) Today, I have some wonderful news to share with you.

After years of looking, I have found a publisher. They are going to publish my new book, Creole and Cajun Comfort Food, along with republishing my first book. The scheduled release date in June of 2020.

Today, I am sharing with you two recipes from my upcoming book, Cajun Mac and Cheese and Shrimp Bisque. I have copied them directly from my manuscript. You are the first to see these recipes and introductions.

Cajun Mac and Cheese

Here is my answer to Bacon Mac and Cheese. The use of Tasso, along with the peppers, gives this comfort food a Cajun twist. But be careful, this dish is highly addictive.

1 pound macaroni, cooked al dente

1 stick butter

1 pound tasso, diced

1/4 cup flour

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

2 cups sharp Cheddar, grated

2 cups mild Cheddar, grated and divided

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 large roasted red bell peppers, diced

2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Preheat oven to 400℉.

In a heavy-bottomed large saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the diced tasso. Cook the tasso until the edges are crispy and it has browned slightly. Add the flour and cook for a minute or two, until the flour has fully incorporated and darkened a bit. Add the cream and stir constantly, until very thick. Add the milk, whisk over high heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add half of the Gruyere. Stir until incorporated then add the other half of the Gruyere, and continue with the sharp Cheddar, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously. Then add 1/2 of the grated mild Cheddar, reserving the last cup for the topping. Once all the cheese is incorporated, add the mustard, nutmeg and diced roasted peppers. Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked macaroni. Place in a 9x13-inch baking pan and top with reserved cheese, sprinkle with Creole seasoning and red pepper flakes. Bake until the top is browned and bubbly, approximately 20 minutes.

Shrimp Bisque is a twist on the classic Crawfish Bisque. This roux based, tomato flavored soup is a Creole treasure. What is great about this dish is that fresh shrimp are available almost year round. You are just a quick trip to your local seafood market for a soul satisfying Creole treat.

1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup onion, finely diced

1/2 cup celery, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups milk

2 cups shrimp stock

1 dried bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Melt the butter and sauté the onions, celery and garlic for about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute longer. Remove the pot from the heat. Gradually stir in the milk and stock to form a smooth mixture. Add the bay leaf, basil, hot sauce and salt. Return to the heat, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are pink. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced green onions. Serve with crackers.

As always, it’s a pleasure to share my recipes and stories with you. I am excited about my upcoming project. At times, I thought that I would never find someone to partner with. Just remember, the right door is out there for you to open.


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