I am a fan of excess.
I am the person who wants just 2 more days of vacation. Who leaves the house wearing just one more piece of jewelry than society might deem appropriate.
Who loves gilding the lily.
That’s why I love cheese. Cheese transforms ordinary meals into culinary works of art. It makes a plain sandwich into a gourmet meal. It turns a lonely night into a night of lactose-loving abandon.
Yeah, I feel very passionately about cheese.
That’s why when Castello sent me 3 wheels of their Alps Selection Cheeses, I put on my stretchy pants, turned off my phone and went into the kitchen for a little one on one time.
Me and the cheese.
TALK about a match made in heaven.
Castello Hirten is firm and crumbly, with a texture and saltiness that is reminiscent of Parmesan cheese. It has an extra salty, grassy punch that makes it ideal for use in an herby pesto or as a finishing cheese for pasta. I would even serve it for dessert with poached pears!
Castello Classico (shown here before I ravaged it with my bare hands) is the most savory cheese of those that I tried. Funky and earthy, with a firm, smooth texture and woodsy, spicy notes. This has hearty, umami notes that echo on as the cheese melts on your tongue. This needs a soft, sweet accompaniment like honey or juicy prunes. If you enjoy stinkier cheeses like tallegio or blue, you will really love this. It was my personal favorite!
But, as much as I loved eating these cheeses alone, I couldn’t let well enough alone.
Am I or am I not the queen of excess?
And what better way to gild this lily than with kielbasa, fried onions, and sauerkraut?
Put away the Lipitor and break out your dirndl skirts!
Kielbasa Alpine Pizza
1 lb. pizza dough
4 links kielbasa, removed from casing and crumbled
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (any color except green)
1/3 cup sauerkraut
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 whole milk
1 cup Castello Weissbier cheese, grated
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Put the oil into a large pan over medium heat. When it starts to ripple, add the onion and peppers. Decrease the heat to very low and let the onions and peppers slowly caramelize. This will take awhile – probably about 45 minutes. You don’t want any brown here, just sweet, translucent, jammy veggies. When everything is soft and sweet, drain the excess oil.
2. Now, add the kielbasa.
3. Cook until the kielbasa is totally browned and cooked. Drain excess oil and set aside.
4. With the butter, flour, milk, and cheese, make a classic cheese sauce like in steps 2-4 of this Mac and Cheese recipe. Leave out the nutmeg and mustard. Once it is seasoned to your looking, take it off of the heat. Thais can be made ahead of time then applied to the dough while cold.
5. Preheat your oven to 475 F and spread the pizza dough out on an oiled pizza stone or cookie sheet.
6. Top the pizza with the sauce…
the sausage and pepper mixture…
and the sauerkraut.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough is totally crisp, the sauerkraut is a little charred, and the cheese is bubbly. No peeking while it bakes! The key to great pizza is a super hot oven and you don’t want to let any of that heat escape.
This is the way that cheese is meant to taste. Creamy, stretchy, and tangy. It melts beautifully and creates a rich, smooth base for this loaded ‘za. Countered by garlicky, salty kielbasa, sweet peppers and onions, and that kick of sauerkraut. The sauerkraut really mellows as it cooks – don’t be afraid of its pungent aroma before it goes in the oven! It is like a cabbage-pickle hybrid. And who doesn’t like pickles with their meat and cheese plates?!
The cheeses I tried were all delicious. From creamy and smooth to firm and piquant, with flavors varying from buttery to woodsy to downright meaty.
Just don’t let the cheese down by making it go to a party all alone. After all, the only thing better than cheese…
is cheese dressed up to the nines!
Win a Private Cheese Tasting in your own home – enter by clicking on the banner below.Castello Moments and this post is a collaboration between the blogger and Arla Foods USA.