Festive cooking with Perfect Italiano

Can you believe Christmas is creeping up on us once again?

This festive period is my favorite time of the year, so I’m not complaining. Who could fault delicious feasts, gifts exchanging, and merry-making? Even if you’re not religious (like myself) this season is for all to indulge in a bit of year-end fun! My idea of a Christmas party is cooking up a storm at home.

I’ve been hosting Christmas parties at my place for a couple of years now, and this year will be no exception! I love nothing more than filling up my loved ones’ tummies with lovingly made homecooked food as we gather around the table, clink our glasses together and laugh heartily. I may have to get down and dirty in the kitchen for awhile, but seeing their appreciative smiles makes it all worth it. I’m glad I came across these quick & easy festive menu by Perfect Italiano recently, they prove that cooking doesn’t have to be needlessly tedious or complicated when you have the right recipe and ingredients!

Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 shares a 5 course menu from appetizer to dessert, featuring the right Perfect Italiano cheese to match each dish. It offers you the simple solution of providing new ideas and inspiration – just in time for the festive season! Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds Italian flair to everyday family meals. The secret to good Italian cooking lies in the freshness of the ingredients used. And that exact same philosophy is applied to Perfect Italiano cheeses – only the best ingredients are used – so that you can achieve perfect Italian recipes, anytime and anywhere.


I’ve taken inspiration from two of their festive recipes to recreate these delicious dishes in the comfort of my own home, and I’ve provided my reworked recipes below!

Alfredo Pasta Bake (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 400g fusilli pasta
  • 200g sliced chicken filet / breast
  • 100g broccoli, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (your favorite type, I used a mixture of portobello, white & brown button)
  • 200ml cooking cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half a cube of chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • lots and lots of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes

Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta with a pinch of salt and a drip of olive oil until 95% cooked. Texture should be slightly undercooked or very al dente, because further cooking will be done in the oven later on. Rinse with cold water, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Stir fry the onions, garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil under onions are tender. Add broccoli, chicken meat and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes over high heat.
  3. Add the cooking cream and half a cube of chicken stock and cook on low heat until stock has dissolved completely.
  4. Turn off heat, stir in cooked fusilli pasta, do a taste test (add salt/pepper where desired) and spoon into baking dishes. Take note that the cheese will provide saltiness as well.
  5. Top off with a generous amount of Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes, sprinkle with paprika for good color, then bake at 200 degrees in a preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

The end result is a deliciously creamy and cheesy pasta dish that I could eat over and over again! The creaminess is light enough without being too overwhelming so it will appeal to even non-fans of creamy pastas, and I’ve chosen to subtitute peas with broccoli and ham with chicken pieces from the original recipe because I prefer this combination of ingredients better.

I also find that adding the stock cube to the cream gives more depth to the flavor. It’s a fuss-free crowd pleaser with ingredients that most people eat and aren’t too pricey, exactly what I want to realistically achieve when I’m cooking for large groups!

Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes is my preferred choice of cheese to use when I’m baking a savory dish – just look at the way it melted and that gorgeous color and texture! I can simply pre-cook the pasta, sprinkle the cheese on, wait for my guests’ arrival and in less than 10 minutes they’ll have a mouthwatering cheesy meal straight out of my oven. Total prep & cooking time less than 40 minutes!

 

…And if you thought cheeses could only be used in savory dishes and are therefore one-dimensional, you’re about to be very surprised, like I was when I tried out this innovative Parmesan Apple Crumble!

Parmesan Apple Crumble (view the original recipe from Perfect Italiano here)

Ingredients (serves 8):

(for crumble)

  • 200g softened salted butter
  • 175g white sugar
  • 300g plain or all purpose flour
  • 100g Perfect Italiano Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

(for filling)

  • 500g red apples, skinned and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Place flour, sugar and Perfect Italian Parmesan in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add softened butter & vanilla extract then combine everything together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Moving onto the filling, place sliced apples in a bowl and sprinkle on the nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spoon the apple filling evenly onto a baking then, then cover entirely with breadcrumbs topping and sprinkle more Perfect Italiano Parmesan on top.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes in a preheated oven, or until crumble is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The end result blew me away!

I could not taste any distinct cheese or Parmesan in my apple crumble, but it had a slight savory touch which I’ve not had in other apple crumbles before. I’ve changed this recipe from the original on their website by reducing the amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar quite a bit to suit my personal taste.

Hence, if you attempt this recipe, do not be alarmed if your apple filling does not look as brown as mine!

Scoop out a portion and top off with vanilla ice cream for instant satisfaction. Go the extra mile by sprinkling biscuit / cookie crumbs on top and I even added popcorn bits to mine! Sure to win over anyone with a sweet tooth, and it tastes just like Christmas. This is a dessert that is uncommonly found outside, and I’m glad I found this recipe because I never realized how incredibly easy and inexpensive it was for me to replicate this myself at home.

You’ll never look at store bought apple crumble the same way again, because this was moist and full of flavor and not dry like some versions found outside! I think the Perfect Italiano Parmesan added a boost of flavor to the crumble, which is what makes is taste so special.

Looking for more perfectly cheesy recipes to whip up in your kitchen?

Check out Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 where there’s already an achievable 5 course menu waiting for you and your loved ones’ hungry stomachs. On their website are 15 seconds videos showing you how to achieve the same recipe at home – letting you know that cooking doesn’t have to be overly stressful or tiresome – it can be simple and yet still perfect! Tag your own recreations of Perfect Italiano recipes at #perfectitalianosg on social media to share your creations with other home cooks!