I'd been reading about Manchego and Comte cheeses for some time now on many blogs, so I was happy to "run into" them at a department store cheese section recently.
They were pricey, but I figured buying some would be the fastest way to taste them rather than wait until I had a chance to try them at a restaurant. The Comte was 104 grams for 1048 yen (about US$10.48), and the Manchego was 117 grams for 1106 yen (about US$11.06).
The Comte cheese is made in France from cow's milk. This was slightly hard with a mild flavor. It reminded me of swiss cheese. The Manchego cheese is made in Spain from goat's milk. This was softer with a tangy flavor.
I grated 31 grams of the Comte and 36 grams of the Manchego for a baked pasta.
For the filling, I sauteed eggplant, onion, red bell pepper with a tablespoon of EVOO.
Then with a cup of skim milk, I mixed in some whole seed mustard, cayenne, black pepper, oregano and nutmeg. I stirred this mixture with the veggie and warmed up the milk.
Instead of macaroni, I used shells.
While assembling everything, I crumbled two slices of crispy bacon into a paper towel to get out as much oil as possible, then sprinkled the bacon onto the shells.
I then poured the milk-veg mixture over and then sprinkled the cheese.
The pasta baked in a 190C (375F) oven for 20 minutes, just until the cheese melted.
It was great comfort food on a rainy evening. I want to try the rest of the cheeses with wine.