Lunchbreak: Asiago Black Pepper Cheese Puffs

Data pix.

Tim Graham - Executive Chef, Nico Osteria

Nico Osteria

1015 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL 60611


Asiago Black Pepper Cheese Puffs

Makes 80 puffs


2 cups               Water

1 ¼ cup            Butter

2 tsp.                Sugar

2 1/8 c.            Flour

8 ea.                 Eggs

1 1/2 c.            Asiago, grated

4 tsp.                Black Pepper, ground

4 ea.                 Egg Yolk

1 ¾ tsp.                        Salt

Asiago for Garnish

Black Pepper (ground) for garnish


  1. Bring the water and butter to a boil.
  2. Add the flour and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly for 4-6 minutes at low heat, until a film forms on the bottom of the pan. Add the Asiago and stir until melted and incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs 2 at a time, and mix until dough is smooth and the eggs are fully incorporated after each addition. Once all eggs are in add the black pepper.
  5. Place into a piping bag with 1/2" tip (tip #808). Pipe appropriate sized puffs onto a sheet tray lined with greased parchment paper.
  6. Smooth peak with wet finger.
  7. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 8 minutes. Add a sprinkle of asiago to each puff, and a pinch of black pepper. Bake at 350F for 8 more minutes.
  9. Cool on wire racks.


  • Happy Hour: The Art of Aperitivo - Monday-Friday from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
    • visit Salone Nico (bar area) for 7 items available for $7 each
    • Examples: Arancini (fried risotto stuffed with fontina), Grilled cheese (taleggio and tomato on semolina bread), Cheese Puff (parmesan, black pepper), Oysters (prosecco mignonette), Aperol Spritz, House Italian Red, House Italian White
  • Pizzette & Prosecco - Friday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    1. Chef Tim will offer a pizzette trio (mini pizzas, rotating seasonally) and a glass of prosecco for $11.
  • Rotating Sandwich & Soup - Now available during lunch, Mon-Fri
    • chef Tim offers a rotating soup and sandwich special for $14
    • Example: butternut squash soup and a turkey confit grilled cheese with pear mustard on house made bread
  • Valentine's Day Menu. (served Friday, 2.14 and Saturday, 2.15)
    1. Regular menu available, along with specials including:
      • Zuppa di Lobster: Lobster consomme, lobster tortellini, tarragon Oil - $19
      • Fried Oyster Bruschetta: smoked tomato spread, celery salsa verde - $21
      • Shrimp Risotto: butternut squash, basil pesto - $24
      • Surf and Turf: 6 oz. Beef filet, crab salad, roasted garlic mashed potato, peppercorn sauce - $44
      • Chocolate Mango Torta chocolate mousse, cashew, tropical sorbet - $14
        • Nico Osteria Wedding Giveaway Contest
          • Contest starts on Valentine's Day
          • Guests submit their story of how they met on
          • Winner will receive a classic Italian wedding at Nico Osteria for up to 100 people for this year
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