Food blogger Carol Mackey joins WCL in the kitchen

This segment is produced with and sponsored by Alessi.

In our "In the Kitchen" segment, WCL brings in cooks of all walks of life to create a dish using Alessi ingredients.

Today's "In the Kitchen" cook is food and lifestyle blogger Carol Mackey.

Carol picked out her favorite Alessi ingredients and created some wonderful dishes.

Our Friends at Alessi sent Carol and a lucky member of our studio audience home with a gift basket of goodies. Visit their website for all the Alessi products.

Carol's recipes:

Baby eggplant with goat cheese topped with sun dried tomato vinaigrette
3 baby eggplant
1 log (3o.z.) goat cheese
oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. oregano

Wash eggplant, holding eggplant upright slice off end of eggplant then slice into 4 or 5 slices about inch thick. Brush eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place in 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes (parchment paper is recommended).

Combine goat cheese and cream cheese add oregano. Roll filling into oval ball and place at the end of the cooked eggplant, roll up and place on arugula leaves (optional), top with sundried tomato vinaigrette. Makes about 15 pieces.

Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
1 clove of garlic
1 shallot
1 Tbls. drained and minced Alessi oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 Tbls. Dijon
1 Tbls. chopped fresh basil

1 Tbls. Alessi balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup Alessi extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley

Combine garlic, shallot, Dijon, sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to the bowl of a food processor. Process and then drizzle in oil add basil and parsley at the end.

Beer and Cheddar Risotto
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 Tbls. Alessi extra virgin olive oil
6 cups chicken broth, hot in saucepan
12 oz. Italian beer (Peroni or Morretti)
2 cups Alessi Arborio Rice
(salt) and freshly ground pepper to taste
11/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 Tbls. chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
4 oz. diced pancetta

Pour olive oil in a 4-5 quart saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook. Stir onion until nearly soft and translucent, add garlic and cook about one more minute, being careful not to burn garlic. Once onion and garlic are soft, add rice add cook about 3 minutes. First addition of liquid is beer then using a ladle, pour about to cup of broth. Pour it in the pan with rice, stirring constantly with a spoon. When most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice, add another ladle of the broth and stir constantly, as before.

Continue to add broth in to cup batches until you have used most of the broth. It is now time to test the risotto. Spoon up some rice and bite into it - it should be tender without being too mushy. If it is a bit crunchy and tastes starchy, you will need to continue adding liquid.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, add parsley and top with pancetta.

Serves four.

*For the beginner, the process should take about 20 minutes but you must taste, not just time!

Pumpkin Tiramisu
1 cup Alessi espresso coffee, cooled
1 package Alessi lady fingers (you'll need about 30)
3 eggs separated
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz. Kahlua mascarpone
3/4 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp each; ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
3/4 cup cool whip
4-5 Alessi Amaretti cookies; crushed
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Place yolks in a bowl and mix in cup brown sugar, vanilla, mascarpone, pumpkin and spices until well blended. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff, fold whites into egg-mascarpone/pumpkin mixture. Pour the coffee into a shallow bowl and dip the biscuits on both sides, you may have to break a row of biscuits to fit dish. Cover the bottom of the dish (9 x9) with the soaked biscuits, set aside coffee mixture (*note presentation is also very nice using individual dishes). Pour half of the mascarpone/pumpkin mixture over the soaked biscuits. Dip remaining biscuits in coffee and place remaining biscuits on top, spread remaining mascarpone/pumpkin mixture on top. Top with whip cream, sprinkle with crushed cookies and pecans. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours for best flavor. Serves 8.
*Note: Raw eggs should not be used in food prepared for pregnant women, young children, or anyone whose health is compromised.