Sunday, March 9, 2014

Amy Thielen Returns to Food Network with Heartland Table

Amy Thielen, Host of Heartland Table

From our friends at the Food Network...

Amy Thielen and Damaris Phillips Return to Food Network's Daytime Lineup with New Seasons of Heartland Table and Southern at Heart

Food Network’s March menu kicks off with new seasons of Heartland TableAmy Thielen, chef and connoisseur of all things authentically Midwestern, is back in her charming cabin kitchen cooking some of the Heartland’s most delicious and often surprising dishes on Saturday, March 8th at 10:30amET/PT. From delicious home-cooked meals around her central wood stove and inventive recipes inspired by local ingredients, Amy explores the food, people and traditions of her region.

Amy Thielen, grew up a few miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota and graduated from Macalester College. She spent seven years cooking professionally in New York under David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Shea Gallante. Since returning to Minnesota in 2008, she has written for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Men’s Journal, and Saveur, and won a James Beard Journalism Award in 2011.  Her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, a collection of 200 Heartland recipes, was published by Clarkson Potter in September 2013. Amy lives in the country near Park Rapids, Minn., with her husband and their son.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese (see recipe below)

Heartland Table is produced by Tavola Productions.

FOOD NETWORK ( is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown more than 10 times and is now the second largest monthly magazine on the newsstand, with over 11.6 million readers. Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24 hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (, DIY Network (, Great American Country (, HGTV (, and Travel Channel (, is the manager and general partner.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese 
Recipe courtesy of Amy Thielen

4 ounces (about 3 to 4 slices) smoky bacon, cut into small dice
Salt, for pasta water
1/2 pound pasta, such as fusilli
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces American cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
2 ounces aged cheddar, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional

Heat a small skillet over medium heat; add the bacon and cook, stirring, until lightly crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside; reserve the bacon fat for another use.

Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously; it should taste like light seawater. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender to the bite, or al dente. Before draining, use a heavy liquid measuring cup to pull out 3/4 cup of the pasta water; set aside. Drain the pasta and return the pot to the heat.

Heat the butter in the pasta pot, then add the cooked pasta. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the American cheese and stir until smooth. Add the cheddar, milk, pepper and the cooked bacon and mix well. Dribble in extra pasta water as needed to make a soft, creamy sauce. Garnish with parsley if using. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:
Ease of preparation: easy

Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes