Lobsta Chowda Mac & Cheese 

Recipe from Jim Courtovich

Serves 8, generously 

  • 5 cups sweet corn, sautéed in butter and set aside 
  • 1 quart cream, heated gently 
  • 6 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 shallots, chopped fine 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • ½ cup AP flour 
  • Pinch nutmeg 
  • 1 pound aged gouda cheese, shredded  
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated  
  • ½ pound fontina cheese 
  • 1 pound chopped lobster meat 
  • 1 cup chopped basil 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 

Turn oven to 375°. 

Sauté sweet corn kernels in butter until done; set aside. In a saucepan over low heat, warm the cream. 

Melt the butter and sauté 3 shallots until translucent over low-medium heat. Addminced garlic, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and heat for 2 minutes. Add the quart of heated cream, in stages, until fully incorporated. 

Put in a pinch of nutmeg, then add the three cheeses. Stir until it becomes a thick mixture. Mix in the lobster, basil and the sweet corn kernels. Add the salt and ground pepper. Mix again to make sure ingredients are combined. 

Optional breadcrumb topping: Melt ½ stick of butter in a skillet and add 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs, cooking until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute while mixing the entire time. 

Put the mac & cheese mixture in a large casserole dish or baking dish, and bake for 35–40 minutes.  

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Tuscan Country Soup 

Recipe from Jim Courtovich


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 pound pancetta, finely chopped  
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped 
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped 
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped 
  • 6 large yellow onions, sliced into large moon-shaped slices 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped 
  • 1 cup red wine 
  • 12 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh spinach, washed 
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag frozen peas 
  • Parmesan cheese, to grate over top 

Add the olive oil to cover the bottom of a large stockpot and bring it to medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook it until it sweats. Add the parsley, carrots and celery. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the onions and thyme, and cook on medium-low heat, covered, for an hour. Stir occasionally until the onions are cooked down, but not browned. 

Stir in the red wine and cook it down until it has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue to simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.  

Add the spinach and peas. Let the soup simmer another 5–7 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, grate Parmesan cheese over the top with a drizzle of olive oil.  

Serve with crusty, hearty bread. 

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Jim Courtovich's Famous Puff Pastry Pizza

For Courtovich, holidays mean opening his home for gatherings—from intimate dinners to his famous large parties for 50 or more, held on sequential nights with rotating guest lists. And this pro entertainer has hacks for that. As he explains, successful entertaining relies on a plan and depends on a circle of trusted vendors, reliable shortcuts and proven recipes.   

This holiday dinner for eight showcases the “Courtovich” approach: a strong appetizer program, show-stopping main courses and a simply elegant layer cake from Sweet Teensy Bakery.  

Puff Pastry Pizza

Serves 8 

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (preferably Dufour), thawed 
  • ¼ pound soppressata (Italian hot dry salami, thinly sliced) 
  • 1 pepperoni (thinly sliced) 
  • 1 package mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced) 
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano 
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly 

Turn oven to 425°. 

Take a thawed sheet of puff pastry and place flat on a silpat or parchment paper. Use a roller to flatten out to almost the size of the baking sheet. Prick entire sheet with a fork and put in fridge for 10 minutes. 

Take out of fridge, bake for 8 minutes and remove. Layer the entire baked sheet with soppressata, then top with 1 layer of sliced mozzarella cheese covering the entire sheet. Packaged, pre-sliced mozzarella from the grocery works best with this. 

Sprinkle the red pepper flakes on the top of the cheese. Next, add a layer of pepperoni on top of the cheese, leaving ½ inch between each slice. Sprinkle with the dried oregano. Top with sliced Roma tomatoes to cover the entire pizza. 

Bake for 15 minutes or so on a high rack in the oven, or until the cheese is golden brown on the sides.  

Let rest for 5–7 minutes, then put on cutting board to serve.