Marc Murphy grew up eating this intensely cheesy baked spaghetti. "When I was young, we lived in Genoa, where spaghetti is the pasta of choice. This is my mother's version of macaroni and cheese," he says.
Labneh, a soft cheese made from strained yogurt, is rich, lightly tart and entirely delicious. Because labneh is not always easy to find at the grocery store, we make our own. While many recipes call for just whole-milk yogurt, we like the creamier texture and tangier flavor of a combination of yogurt and sour cream. Once the labneh is made, there is almost no end to its uses. Drizzle a bowl of it with olive oil, sprinkle it with za’atar and serve it with pita wedges or crudités. In the Food & Wine Test Kitchen, we like to use our homemade labneh in F&W’s Kay Chun’s Cool Ranch Kale Dip.
The blend of flavors and textures here—crunchy, smooth, nutty, sweet, tart—makes this simple dessert irresistible. Opt for lebneh or another soft fresh cheese that won't melt quickly underneath the warm apples topped with a quick granola crumble.
At the end of their wine-and-cheese parties, Cheesewhizzes Helen Jane Hearn and Natalie Wassum gather any leftovers to make an incredible mac and cheese later in the week. The adaptation below, based on a recipe from Marion Cunningham's The Supper Book, works beautifully with any semihard cheese but is particularly good with an international blend of French Mimolette, aged Dutch Gouda and American Vella dry Jack. A fine layer of Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano forms a crisp topping.
Chef Ryan Hardy makes his luxurious fondue with two kinds of Swiss cheese (Emmentaler and Gruyère) and two kinds of spirits (white wine and Kirsch), all traditional ingredients. Some of the dipping items are also classic, like cubes of crusty bread and pickles, but some are unconventional, like slices of Hardy's salami and other hearty house-cured charcuterie, which are all wonderful with the winey fondue.
Laurent Tourondel's mushrooms, which are stuffed with cheese, brightened with lemon zest and topped with golden toasted bread crumbs, are a perfect side dish or appetizer. Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) are lovely here, but if you can't find them at an Asian market or specialty store, substitute any kind of coarse-textured bread crumbs that will provide some satisfying crunch.
The best grilled cheese is the gooiest grilled cheese, says author Laura Werlin: "After you bite into it, the cheese should stretch out past your face as far as your arm will reach. Otherwise, it's just not right."
Diners—and the chefs who feed them—are embracing retro dishes like sole amandine. Alexandra Guarnaschelli perused old supper-club menus and came away with ideas for cheese soufflé and chilled tomato soup.
To make a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, you need a good melting cheese like Mahón; be sure to choose a young semi-soft variety rather than a hard aged one. Meaty lomo, a newly imported ham made from dry-cured pork loin accented with garlic and paprika, is definitely worth seeking out, though Serrano ham is a very acceptable substitute.
Michael Psilakis likes to riff on saganaki—fried cheese with lemon. He uses manouri, a fresh, milky white cheese made from the whey that's drained off during feta production. Like nearly all Greek cheeses, it's produced from either sheep's or goat's milk.
This recipe for arancini—fried risotto balls—comes from Renato Poliafito, who got it from his Sicilian cousin Emanuele Sanfilippo. "Renato is obsessed with arancini," says Matt Lewis, "especially this version with toasted pistachios." These arancini are the size of tangerines, filled with creamy, cheesy rice, studded with nuts and green peas and encased in a great crunchy crust.
Fromage fort is the ultimate way of using leftover cheese. Jacques Pépin's father used to combine pieces of Camembert, Brie, Swiss, blue cheese and goat cheese together with his mother's leek broth, some white wine and crushed garlic. Now his wife makes a milder version in a food processor that takes only seconds. It is delicious with crackers or melted onto toasts. It also freezes well.
Matt Lewis is enamored of fondue—in fact, he had a special pot made for dessert fondues at his former Manhattan shop, Chocolate Bar. His terrific cheddar-Jack cheese fondue includes whiskey, which adds a great kick.
Swiss raclette, the dish of gently melted cheese (also named raclette) that is served with boiled potatoes, air-dried beef, and cornichons, inspired this more accessible version that uses easy-to-find, quick-to-melt Brie.
Like sugar, honey caramelizes as it cooks. Here, warm honey is drizzled over a mixture of goat cheese and Greek yogurt, where it cools to a caramel-like consistency. For a crunchier topping, heat the honey until it reaches 250° on a candy thermometer.
Zucchini and yellow squash can both be mild in flavor, but nothing about this tangy, herby pizza is bland. The summer squash is sliced into slender coins, then roasted in a hot oven until it's lightly caramelized, bringing out its sweetness.
This luscious, quiche-like pie is a mash-up of two Southern favorites—tangy pimento cheese and silky tomato pie. The riper and more flavorful your tomato is, the better the pie will be. Crumble bacon over the top to really push it over the edge!
Marinated Goat Cheese, Olives, Artichokes and Tomatoes
Christophe Emé's late uncle, Auguste Fauqereau, had never been on an airplane; he made his own wine and goat cheese in the Loire because that's what he'd always done. Today, Emé spices up goat cheese with fresh herbs, salt and the piquant ground red pepper piment d'Espelette, then forms it into balls. He likes to serve them in a spectacular way, by packing them with olive oil, artichokes, olives and tomatoes in a giant jar that he sets out on the table with a big spoon for scooping.