13 10 2008

Last month, when I was preparing for Chez Loulou’s Fête du Fromage, Nick and I went to the store in search of cheeses we had never tried before.  We ended up with this spread:

French Muenster, Saint Albray, Crottin de Chèvre, Doré de l'Abbaye

Each one is worthy of its own post, but today I’m going to write about the one on the bottom left: Doré de l’Abbaye.  It is a washed-rind cheese, so I expected it to be pretty strong and stinky.  Not so.  Very similar to Port Salut, it has a thin orange rind which is edible but not particularly tasty.  The off-white cheese inside is semi-soft with a very mild stinky-cheese flavor.  An entry-level washed-rind cheese, I would not hesitate to serve this one to newbies or people who are apprehensive about esoteric cheeses.  The texture of it reminded us a bit of Monterey Jack, and we hoped that it might be a good cheese for melting.

Which brings me to the tartiflette-of-sorts.  One of Nick’s colleagues (the one who told me about tartiflette to begin with) brought him a box of buckwheat pasta squares, which had a variation of the recipe on the back.

Savoyard buckwheat pasta

While I love the idea of pasta, cream, bacon and cheese baked together in a gooey, delicious mess, I thought I should attempt to sneak some vegetables into the dish, so as to make it a more complete meal.  Considering the sauce is basically the famous bacon-onion dip, I figured I could bulk that up with a leek or two without drastically affecting the flavor.  Then I saw the first winter squash display of the season.  After much internal debate, I chose the patidou.

That gorgeous skin was a real pain to peel, I must admit.

About the size of an acorn squash, the patidou has smooth flesh and a sweet, nutty flavor akin to butternut squash.  I just knew it would be delicious in my tartiflette-like dish.  So I peeled and diced it and sautéed it in butter until it started to brown.

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