Macaroni and cheese

May 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

Great mac and cheese is the holy grail of comfort food. I’ve been making the dish for a couple of years now and it has always been tasty, but never quite right. Until now. I think I’ve finally learned to cook my personal vision of perfect macaroni and cheese: creamy, cheesy, simple and delicate in texture and taste with a bit of heat from paprika.

I made this recently and there are two things I did differently than normal. First, I used tiny little bow-shaped pasta. Second, I added the pasta directly to the creamy sauce and cooked it in that until al dente. I haven’t tried it with a larger pasta like penne yet, but with these tiny little noodles (see photo below of their size next to a fork) it worked beautifully. Also easier and less clean-up.

The recipe below makes enough for a generous serving for two people. Double or triple for a larger crowd. It’s equally good served creamy right from the stovetop or baked with a simple breadcrumb topping. Serve with a green salad on the side.

Macaroni and cheese
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives etc)
1-1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
250g mini-pasta shapes
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar and asiago)
1 chopped tomato
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Saute onions and garlic in butter until softened. Stir in flour and herbs. Add in water and stir until smooth. Stir in dried pasta and add remaining milk. Stir continuously over medium heat until the pasta softens, about 10 minutes. Add a splash of water or milk if you find the sauce is boiling down too much. When the pasta is very close to being done, stir in the cheese until it melts and then add chopped tomato. From here you can dish it into bowls with a sprinkle of paprika and fresh ground pepper. Or if you like your mac and cheese baked, pour the pasta into a greased casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, paprika and pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 425F.

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Entry filed under: Cooking, Home, Making. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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