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GEORGE'S RECIPE of THE MONTH.
Recipe_nov20
George_jr
George has had a love of all things culinary from a very young age, and throughout his career, has worked with renowned chefs and food technologists. He discovered his passion for cooking at the age of five after spending time in his grandmother's restaurant. From then on, under his mother's guidance (who is a talented cook of her own accord) George recalls cooking anything his mother would let him, starting out with scrambled eggs and hamburgers and quickly moving on to fine Italian and French dishes.
After many years of honing and perfecting his culinary craft, George still enjoys what he humbly considers: "complimenting my family culinary experience," by taking courses in regional cuisines pertaining to the vegetable ingredient products his family specializes in, namely: Asian, French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Tex Mex.
Because of George's extensive knowledge and passion for food, he is a great resource to customers in helping them find the right ingredients for their recipe needs. "I need to understand what's happening in the kitchen," he explained. "If my client has an unfavorable flavor note, I need to be able to assess the situation to understand why." That extra level of service and care undoubtedly stems from his love of food and his work alike, which fortunately for George, go hand and hand.
Ingredients
10 ounces ziti pasta
12 ounces bacon
6 ounces fresh spinach
For the pumpkin cheese sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour or all purpose gluten free flour)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or cashew milk or regular milk)
1/2 cup finely grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
For the topping:
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, gluten free if desired
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preparation
Print
1 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch or 11x7 inch baking pan.

2 - Boil the ziti until al dente, drain and place in large bowl.

3 - Cook your bacon: Add bacon to a large skillet on medium low heat. Cook on both sides until crispy and golden brown. Once bacon is done, blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease and then chop into bite sized pieces and transfer to the large bowl with the noodles.
4 - Drain the grease from the bacon pan and then add spinach. Cook on medium low until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat and transfer to the large bowl with the noodles and bacon.
5 - In the same pan, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens up.
6 - Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in garlic powder, parmesan and cheddar cheese, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Finally stir in the pumpkin puree.
7 - Add the pumpkin cheese sauce to the bowl with the pasta, bacon and spinach. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well to combine, then pour mixture into your prepared baking pan and spread out. Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
8 - In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of casserole and bake for 25 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
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