Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holy Macaroni and Cheese

I needed to be comforted, so I gave my old friend macaroni and cheese a ring. This here is a serious triple threat of yummy. A lovely little restaurant offers these toppings as add ons to their mac and cheese and I aways get it with all three. With a mixture of rain and snow falling from grey skies outside, I was forced to make it myself.

I like roasting my veggies. I think the texture is far superior than boiling and blanching. Put some broccoli tossed in olive oil and salt in a pan with a few strips of bacon. In a pre-heated oven of 425, this should take about 15-20 minutes. If you want the bacon crispy, remove broccoli and cook bacon another 5 or so minutes. Chop into smaller pieces and set aside. While you're chopping, do the same with a few sun-dried tomatoes. You'll wanna get this prep out of the way before you dive into the sauce. 

It all starts with a roux. A roux is basically fat and flour. It's a traditional thickening agent used in many sauces. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and, stirring fairly constantly, add a teaspoon of flour. Then pour in a quarter cup of milk and stir. Let it come to a simmer and good golly watch that roux thicken. Stir, stir, stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese. I used half a cup of cheddar and just a nibble gorgonzola. The first time I tried mac and cheese I definitely over-gorgonzola-ed the crap out of it. Unless you l-o-v-e blue cheese, watch out. So, yea, gorgonzola. Just a nibble. Stir some more. 

Try to time your pasta cooking and cheese sauce concocting the same. I used conchiglie, aka, shells. This pasta is primo for creamy sauces. It will catch all the cheesy goodness inside the shell and outside on the ridges. When the pasta is al dente, add to your cheese sauce and mix in the awesome additions.

This comfort food is so fantastic, especially when its crappy outside. The cheese sauce is just cheesy. Next time I want to try adding some swiss. I've been told a jack is also a welcomed addition. The sun-dried tomatoes add a bright tang, the broccoli brings incredible texture, and the bacon...well, bacon is always a fatty, salty, welcomed guest in my book.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for adding new stuff to the meal list. I can not wait for the eventual cook book.