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The 2-Ingredient Cheese Sauce We Want to Put on Everything

Taleggio, we love you.

April  9, 2019
Photo by Julia Gartland

One of the greatest recipes from one of the greatest restaurants led by one of the greatest chefs in the country was inspired by, of all things, Cheez-Whiz. Surprising? Perhaps. But that’s Estela.

In his recently released cookbook, Chef Ignacio Mattos writes:

Before moving to New York, I ran the kitchen at Francis Mallmann’s summer restaurant Patagonia West in the Hamptons. Late at night after my shifts, I’d go to the only place in town that was open: a 7-Eleven. I’d almost always grab one of those taquitos and pump Cheez Whiz all over it. One night toward the end of the season, the clerk, who had seen me perform this ritual many times, smiled at me and said, “My friend, you really love America.”

Such was the inspiration for Estela’s Taleggio sauce, which sounds infinitely more sophisticated than Cheez-Whiz—but is only two ingredients: Taleggio cheese and heavy cream (plus salt to taste). You heat the cream, pour it over the cheese, let the two get to know each other, then blend them together. That’s it.

Because the ingredient list is so small, I asked Mattos why he went with Taleggio, a semisoft Italian cheese with a washed rind. “It’s funky and has truffle and barn-like notes,” he told me. “It’s rich and also decadent.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I immediately thought of a recipe that I've used for special occasions by Ina Garten--a blue cheese sauce that is made only with heavy cream (brought to boil then simmer to reduce by ½) and then add crumbled blue cheese, stir to melt. It goes with her super easy, fancy-dinner- party-appropriate beef tenderloin (roasted cherry tomatoes as a side dish is a terrific accompaniement. The acid balances the richness of the meat and cheese sauce.) Sure, the sauce is super rich, but one only needs just a little to get incredible flavor. I'm guessing the same for this recipe.”
— Karen R.
Comment

Sold. I love how pungent the flavor is, while still making way for whatever you’re pouring the cheese sauce on. If you can’t find Taleggio, don’t let this stop you from riffing. In the test kitchen, we swapped in Brie to see if it would work—and, yep, sure did. The flavor was milder, but still worth pouring on anything.

On Estela’s menu, you’ll find the Taleggio sauce alongside steak. But Mattos loves it with a lot more than that. His favorite ways include: “with a burger, on roasted Brussels sprouts, or used as a dip for fries.”

We can confirm it’s excellent on roasted potatoes—and have a whole wish list of things we want to Taleggio sauce-ify:

  • Sautéed kale on garlic bread
  • Crispy hot dog with mustard and pickles
  • Whole-roasted carrots
  • Salty, blanched asparagus
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Pasta!

More Cheese, Please

Let us know what you’d add to the list in the comment section below.

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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing stories about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now, she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter.

22 Comments

rcb May 13, 2019
No Taleggio in the fridge right now, but St. Andrè I've got my eye on you.
 
Rhonda S. May 11, 2019
This recipe sounds FABULOUS, so simple! I love it! Will be trying this one THIS WEEKEND! My family thanks you!
 
Natalie P. May 10, 2019
beautiful food dipped in beautiful writing. simple, elegant. well done.
 
Karen R. May 10, 2019
This recipe sounds decadent and adaptable to many types of double-creme cheese varieties. I immediately thought of a recipe that I've used for special occasions by Ina Garten--a blue cheese sauce that is made only with heavy cream (brought to boil then simmer to reduce by ½) and then add crumbled blue cheese, stir to melt. It goes with her super easy, fancy-dinner- party-appropriate beef tenderloin (roasted cherry tomatoes as a side dish is a terrific accompaniement. The acid balances the richness of the meat and cheese sauce.) Sure, the sauce is super rich, but one only needs just a little to get incredible flavor. I'm guessing the same for this recipe.
 
Aaron K. May 9, 2019
What 7-11 actually has cheese whiz you can use on food items? I have been to hundreds if not thousands of 7-11's around the U.S. and have yet to ever see cheese whiz at any of them, nacho cheese yes cheese whiz never.
 
Peter B. May 9, 2019
Not having taleggio I'll have to use Brie but this is ripe for experimentation.
 
Michael C. May 9, 2019
Not knowing for sure, but I would think one could use any kind of a good melting cheese
 
sue May 9, 2019
Sigh. It's a sad world when you love cheese but are lactose-intolerant. I ate a scoop of ice cream last week on a whim. It didn't end well.
 
Lois B. May 9, 2019
"Barn-like." No idea why people take this as a good thing to put in their mouths. lol.
 
Micheline W. May 9, 2019
Not to mention an artery clogger.
 
Lorraine May 10, 2019
Barns are awesome! Think sweet straw/hay, untreated planks of wood, fresh outside air.
 
Lorraine May 10, 2019
A few tablespoons over a veg and you'll be fine.
 
Heidi May 13, 2019
Why comment on a cheese recipe if you believe that? There are plenty of low-fat dietetic food sites to read and comment on. 🙄
 
Heidi May 13, 2019
@ Micheline
 
Mike May 9, 2019
Any suggestions other than Taleggio?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. May 14, 2019
Our test kitchen swapped in Brie and that worked well, too!
 
4aces May 9, 2019
there's a washed rind Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery that was born to be a sauce! pungent & funky and omg i can't wait!
 
Christina May 9, 2019
Definitely over toasted English muffins (preferably homemade sourdough) with crumbled bacon! Thin slices of avocado for real decadence! (Or sun-dried tomato slices if avocados are unavailable.)
 
cookbookchick May 9, 2019
On pizza!
 
suzybel63 May 5, 2019
I still love the Cheez Whiz tho.
 
Bryonna May 13, 2019
me too :)
 
MaryMary April 27, 2019
Saucey Taleggio and cream is a good addition over sluced avocado and sunny side egg with roasted cherry tomates!