The New Shavuos Food: Broccoccini Alfredo and its Halachos

The New Shavuos Food: Broccoccini Alfredo and its Halachos 1

by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

You loved it when you were single and carefree. You loved its creaminess and rich flavor. But, now you realize that it is well over 2000 calories per serving – and it just doesn’t make sense. Fettuccine Alfredo is just too unhealthy for you to be serving.

Enter a new food – just in time for Shavuos. Broccoccine Alfredo.

What follows is a recipe and then its halachic repercussions. For those who wish to be stringent, they can leave out the last ingredient without a problem. Use a large frying pan.

RECIPE

2 Large Onions
1 lb Broccoli
2 lbs Fettuccine Pasta
3 teaspoons salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
1/3rd stick butter [you can replace this with another ¼ cup of olive oil for a healthier dish]
16 ounces whipped Cream Cheese
2 cups milk
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup flour
3 teaspoons garlic
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
THERE ARE THREE COOKING PHASES TO THIS RECIPE

PHASE I

Cook and drain the broccoli

PHASE II

Melt the butter on a low flame. After it melts add the olive oil and wait one minute. Dice the onions and saute them in the olive oil in a frying pan until they are translucent.
Add the mushrooms and saute for another 12 minutes

PHASE III

Boil a large pot of water with the salt. Add the pasta and cook it for 12 minutes. Drain it. Combine it in the frying pan with the onions and mushrooms.

PHASE IV

Add the cream cheese, the milk, the parmesan cheese, the garlic, the 1/4th cup flour (slowly poured in) and the sour cream and allow it to cook for 18 minutes. This is the sauce.
Now combine everything and serve. Salt and season to taste

AND NOW THE HALACHA

Let’s first explore the background of the specific halachos of hard cheese. We will begin with the issue of consuming dairy after consuming meat.

DAIRY AFTER MEAT

The Talmud (Chullin 105a) tells us that Rav Chisda says: One who ate meat is forbidden from eating cheese. One who ate cheese [however] may eat meat. It further explains that Mar Ukvah differentiated his behavior from the more pious behavior of his father. He stated, “Although I would not eat cheese in the same meal as meat, I would eat cheese in the next meal.”

Most poskim conclude that unless one has a specific minhag otherwise, the time period meant by the term “the next meal” is six hours. There are two major opinions that deal with the reason for this six-hour timeframe of Mar Ukvah.

RASHI VERSUS RAMBAM

Rashi (Chullin 105a) explains that meat leaves a fatty type of residue in the mouth and throat of the meat consumer. This residue lasts a rather long time.

The Rambam (Hilchos Basar VeChalav 9:28) explains that there are particles of meat that can park themselves in between the teeth. We rule in accordance with both Rashi and the Rambam in regard to this issue.

MEAT AFTER DAIRY

Yes, but what about eating meat after one eats cheese? The Gemara seems to say that it is permitted to eat cheese after eating meat, without qualification. The Rama rules (Yoreh Deah 89:2) that it is good [and proper] to be stringent and follow the opinion to not eat meat, or even poultry, within six hours after consuming any hard cheese. This has become the accepted minhag of K’lal Yisrael, according to the Mishnah Berurah.

As the TaZ (89:4) explains, hard cheese leaves a fatty residue just as meat does. The P’ri Chadash (89:2) explains that pieces of cheese can park themselves in between the teeth just as pieces of meat do. What cheeses are included? Parmesan, cheddar, and Swiss are a few. Indeed, even if just a small amount of these cheeses are consumed, such as on top of a pizza or on top of a salad, one must wait the six-hour period.

BROCCOCCINE ALFREDO AND FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

What about our two Shavuos foods? To answer this question, we must travel back. We travel to Eastern Europe, and it is 1906.

The town is Sadigora, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is the seat of the famed Sadigora Chassidic dynasty (centered in Bnei Brak, Israel in modern times). The town’s av beis din, Rabbi Yehudah Leibish Landau, publishes a remarkable work, Yad Yehudah, a commentary on the kashrus section of Yoreh Deah.

Rabbi Landau writes (Yad Yehudah 89:30) that this stringency does not apply if the cheese is cooked into the food.

The Parmesan cheese is added to the recipe as part of the sauce before it is cooked. Thus, according to the Yad Yehudah, Broccoccini and Fettuccine Alfredo is not considered a six hour cheese product. Thus , the fleishigs afterward is safe.

RAV FEIVEL COHEN’S OPINION

But wait. Rav Feivel Cohen, shlita, in his Badei HaShulchan (Hilchos Basar VeChalav chapter 89, page 64 in the Biurim section) questions this ruling. He writes that the Yad Yehudah is of the opinion that hard cheese is forbidden because of the parking of pieces in between the teeth (like the aforementioned P’ri Chadash). There, it is quite reasonable to assume that the cheese will soften after it is cooked. But perhaps the real reason for hard cheese being forbidden is Rashi’s reason – that the taste of its fat remains in the mouth (like the aforementioned TaZ).

Rav Feivel Cohen concludes his thoughts with the words “tzarich iyun.”

So, what should Broccoccini and Fettuccine Alfredo consumers do? Well, one could leave out the Parmesan cheese. But for those who don’t, the va’adei kashrus across the country seem to go with the opinion of the Yad Yehudah and do not necessitate even a warning label that it may require a waiting period of six hours.

There may be another factor, however, allowing a leniency. Here, the Parmesan cheese is mixed with other things in the sauce and then it is cooked. Perhaps the mixing, combined with the cooking, will somehow weaken the taste of that Parmesan cheese.

I am told, however, that when this rationale was presented to Rav Elyashiv zatzal, it was rejected. The mixing of hard cheeses with other cheese does not mitigate the cheese, according to Rav Elyashiv zt”l. If so, this may open up a Pandora’s box of other hard-cheese kashrus concerns. It seems that our orange cheeses (American cheese) get their color not just from orange food coloring added to a mixture of cheeses; there is bona fide cheddar cheese in there. If this quote of Rav Elyashiv is correct, then some very serious questions can arise.

This article is merely bringing up the issue. As in all areas of halachah, one must always consult one’s Rav as to how to conduct oneself. It is my understanding that many Rabbonim do follow the view of the Yad Yehudah especially when there are the other factors presented above.

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