Pasta dishes are a big seller for Alex Hoefer, Executive Chef of Wind Creek Casino in Wetumpka, Ala. At the Grill, he menus creative spins on familiar favorites, like the Philly Cheesesteak Pasta, featuring Barilla Penne tossed in Alfredo sauce and topped with Philly cheesesteak, onions, peppers and provolone. At the upscale steakhouse Fire, Hoefer is currently running the Creole Chicken Pasta, with Barilla Cavatappi, Creole cream, sweet Peppadew peppers and scallions. For all of his pasta needs, he sources Barilla for its high quality, reliable consistency and ease of preparation. “Barilla is the most user-friendly pasta out there,” says Hoefer. “We’re not located in a big city so a lot of our employees aren’t cooks or chefs. They might not necessarily understand ‘al dente’. With Barilla, I can give them easy direction to simply read the box instructions for perfect results each time.”
Hoefer recently tried Barilla Frozen, the company’s new line of pre-cooked and frozen pasta that was developed to offer waste and labor reduction, along with time savings. “I think the timing couldn’t have been better, coming away from what COVID has done, for the restaurant industry to have a great solution like this from a trusted company such as Barilla,” he says. “Barilla Frozen Pasta can be portioned frozen and does not weep when thawed.”
In this plant-forward spin on beef stroganoff, Hoefer replaces the traditional meat with mushrooms and thickens the sauce with Greek yogurt. He adds Parmigiano-Reggiano and either mushroom or beef stock for savory depth, counting on Barilla Elbows for the dish’s foundation. “This pasta dish has a great meaty flavor, even when we use the mushroom stock,” says Hoefer. “It’s a great plant-forward twist on a comfort classic, and pasta elbows are both familiar and well-loved by guests.”
When Hoefer took over the kitchen at Wind Creek in 2017, he tweaked the mac and cheese side at its steakhouse, Fire. “With our name, I wanted there to be smoke in the pasta and give it more drama,” he says. He added cold-smoked cheddar to the Sriracha-spiked Mornay sauce. The dish stars king crab, lobster and Barilla Cellentani. For a showstopping presentation, the crock of mac and cheese is set atop a smoldering cedar plank that is carried through the dining room and delivered for table service. “It’s a huge seller for us,” says Hoefer. “Pretty much every table gets it.”
Barilla Frozen for You!
Barilla Frozen delivers the same quality and consistency chefs expect from the #1 pasta brand in Italy and the U.S., but with the time- and labor-saving benefits of pre-cooked pasta. Get product info here.