Chatting and chopping with Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

NEW YORK — Alex Guarnaschelli shares two of her delicious recipes below.

Crab  mac and cheese:

  • Made with Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon salt
  • Pairs well with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

Any type of crab will work for this recipe: Fresh, frozen or canned. If the crab is frozen, simply defrost in the refrigerator and drain of all excess liquid before adding to the macaroni. If canned, thoroughly drain crab of liquid before using. Also, taste the crab before adding to the macaroni. You may find it needs salt and pepper before mixing in. You can also make this dish vegetarian by simply omitting the crab.

One of the exciting things about this recipe is how the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay in the cheese sauce base and the Cabernet Sauvignon Wine salt add a tangy, acidic note that brightens the cheese. The flavors they create resemble a great fondue sauce. The wine also illuminates the crabmeat and makes this dish hard to resist!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes (mostly inactive)
Servings: 4-6

Wine and pasta Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
  • Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon salt to taste
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 ½ cups grated Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoon tabasco
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked of any shell bits

Toppings:

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Reduce the wine: In a medium pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay over medium heat until the liquid measures about ½ cup, 5-8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Cook the pasta: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons of the wine salt to a rolling boil. It should taste like seawater. Stir in the macaroni and cook but leave quite firm, 6-8 minutes. Drain the reserve pasta, keeping some of the cooking liquid.
  • Make the macaroni sauce: In the same pot holding the reduced wine, add the cream and the mustard to a simmer gently over medium-low heat with a pinch of wine salt. Stir in the 3 cups of the Swiss cheese, all of the cheddar and ½ of the Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire and Tabasco and warm until cheese melts, 3-5 minutes.
  • Finish the dish: Add the macaroni to the cream and stir gently to blend. Allow the macaroni to "rest" on the stove, 5-10 minutes, so the pasta absorbs the flavors. Transfer half of the macaroni to an ovenproof baking dish (about 9" x 13"), sprinkle with an even layer of about half of the crab. Gently layer on the remaining macaroni and crab.
  • Make the breadcrumb mix and finish the dish: In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with remaining Swiss and Parmesan cheeses and parsley. Top the pasta with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven 15-20 minutes or until browned and hot.

Mexican street corn salad:

  • Made with Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay salt
  • Pairs well with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay

This is a great salad to serve anytime—for lunch or dinner. You can make the whole recipe ahead and simply stir in the basil and arugula last minute. The brightness of the Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay salt highlights the natural sweetness of the corn.

Why cook corn for corn salad? While I love the starchy sweetness of raw corn, cooking it for a few minutes makes it juicier. When tossed with the Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi salt and vinaigrette accented with both reduced Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc and lemon it is uniquely delicious.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Corn and Chardonnay salt Ingredients:

  • 8 whole medium ears of corn, shucked
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed and toasted

Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon (1 large lemon) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 scant cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • Cook and clean the corn: Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of Jacobsen Salt Co. & Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi
  • Chardonnay salt: Hold each ear of corn upright with one end on the cutting board and the other in your non-cutting hand. Use a sharp chef’s knife to shave off the kernels in rows from the cob. Cut close to the core so that the kernels remain relatively whole but not so close that you end up taking fibrous pieces of the cob with you. Repeat with all of the corn.
  • Make the wine salt mix: In a small bowl, combine the paprika and coriander with 2 teaspoons of the Chardonnay Salt. Set aside.
    Reduce the wine: In a medium pot, reduce the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc over medium heat until the liquid measures 1/4 cup, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the honey. Cool.
  • Make the vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together the reduced Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Assemble the salad: In the bowl with the vinaigrette, toss the corn and add wine salt-spice mixture, basil and arugula. Arrange on a large serving platter. Top with feta cheese.