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Ripen Your Cheese Knowledge

Get the lowdown on everything cheesy with these tips and recipes.

A Beverly Hills chef shares interesting ways to enliven favorite recipes that use cheese.

Initial Tips

Store cheese properly by wrapping it first in tin foil or wax paper, and then place it in a zippered bag to keep it from picking up odors from the refrigerator.

If your cheese develops a blue mold, do NOT throw it away. Simply scrape it off.

Spinach Pizza

Ingredients:

1 bunch fresh spinach (or other fresh greens)
1 box frozen spinach
premade pizza crust
1 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Sauté chopped fresh spinach in a little olive oil flavored with garlic, salt and red-pepper flakes. Spread the cooked spinach on a store-bought pizza crust. Drizzle with olive oil.

Dollop on ricotta cheese. Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes. Use a pizza stone for a crispier crust.

Macaroni and Blue Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1/2 lb. Gorgonzola
toasted seasoned bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Boil pasta in salted water to which a dollop of olive oil has been added. Cook until al dente. Melt butter in a deep saucepan. Add onion, dry mustard and flour. Cook a few minutes to remove the flour's raw taste, and then slowly add warm milk, stirring constantly.

Add 3/4 of the cheese to the sauce, saving the rest for garnish. Combine the pasta and sauce, and then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sprinkle again with toasted bread crumbs and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.

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