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Posted: Friday, Sep. 14, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

We are into the part of the year where gatherings are sure to happen more frequently than in the earlier months of the year. Football is here, Halloween is right around the corner and the holiday season will be in full swing until the beginning of 2013.

Small bites of food seem to be in vogue in the form of tapas, mini desserts and sliders. Having a variety of items in smaller portions allows more options for guests with an aversion to a particular dish, ingredient or style of food.

One of my favorite bites to serve, and to eat, are these deep fried mac and cheese bites. Simple to make, using either this basic homemade recipe or – dare I say it – boxed mac and cheese.

The key is to make the mac and cheese the night before to allow it to set. Then it can be cut into small bite size cubes, battered and deep fried. In this version, I snuck some greens in to complement the salty silvers of pepperoni, but anything can be added in proportion to the dish.

For more “Party happy comfort bites” visit www.cheftroy.net.

Deep Fried Kale-Salami Mac & Cheese Bites

• 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
• 1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
• To Taste, Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• 1/2 Pound Shell Pasta
• 8 Ounces Havarti, shredded
• ½ Cup Pepperoni, chopped fine
• ½ Cup Kale, blanched, ice bath, drained, chopped fine
• 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
• 3 Each Eggs, beaten
• 4 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
• To Fry, Canola Oil


1. Cook pasta two minutes under package instructions.
2. Drain and cool, by running cold water over pasta, until completely cooled, drain well.
3. Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and stir to combine.
4. Add heavy cream and raise heat to medium high heat.
5. When cream begins to thicken add cheese and pasta, fold to combine.
6. Once combined gently fold in pepperoni, kale and season to taste.
7. Place in a buttered 8”x8” dish, level of and place in refrigerator.
8. Cool until solid, about four hours or overnight.
9. Preheat oil to 360 degrees.
10. Once cooled loosen sides by running a paring knife along the sides of the dish.
11. Turn mac out unto a cutting board and cut into 16 equal 2”x2” portions.
12. Four vertical cuts and four horizontal cuts, making 16 cubes.
13. Cut each into quarters.
14. Set up bread station in this order: flour, egg, bread crumbs.
15. Dip each into flour, shake off excess, dip in egg to coat.
16. Lift out of egg and let excess drip off before placing in bread crumbs.
17. Once all are breaded, fry in batches until golden, about 2 minutes.
18. Drain on a paper towel, insert toothpick into each and serve.

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