Thursday, June 3, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

I tend to ignore some of the conventions of dining. Like the ones about when certain foods can be eaten in the day. My personal philosophy is if I can eat it for dinner than I can certainly eat the leftovers for breakfast. I don't discriminate. Seafood, shortribs, fried chicken, Chinese food, and pizza have all been eaten for breakfast. Similarly, living in an air conditioned house, I have been known to make food that was seasonally inappropriate. Like today when I made macaroni and cheese and Deb's amazing coffee cake. If you haven't made this coffee cake yet, do yourself a favor and make it before it gets to hot out. Although, did I mention it was 80 degrees today? 

In my defense, I only heated up my whole house to help one of my best friends, Jenna. Her college roommate's dad passed away earlier this week. Not knowing what else to do, as they have grown apart in recently, Jenna wanted to make food for the family. One small problem though: She doesn't really cook and may be the pickiest eater I have ever met. 

No one wants to eat healthy when they're sad, assuming they want to eat at all. If someone is grieving, it is time to make comfort foods (preferably with lots of cheese), and I have yet to meet someone who thinks a salad is comforting.

This is the best macaroni and cheese I have eaten in a long time. And in the spirit of my salsa, this recipe is from my boyfriend's mom. I was surprised she was willing to part with it. Especially to me. Clearly, she is more generous with her "signature" recipes than I am.

There aren't any picture because I can't find my charger, and I couldn't cut into macaroni and cheese I was giving to someone else. The next time I make it (which will be post bathing suit season) I will take pictures. In the meantime, if you make it and *happen* to take a picture I could use that would be delightful. That's besides the point. My point is that with a ratio of 2+ pounds of cheese to 1 pound of pasta, this is going to be good, if not at all diet friendly.

Macaroni and Cheese
The only change I made is I use black pepper instead of white because I do not like white pepper. If you want to use white, use 1/3 teaspoon. Oh, and I used penne instead of rigatoni because its what I had available.
1 pound rigatoni (I used penne)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup romano
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 lb sharp cheddar (grated)
1 lb mozzarella (grated)
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Melt the butter over medium heat and add flour. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the floury taste is gone. Do not let it brown. Slowly add 3 cups of milk. Increase heat to medium high, and stir until smooth and thickened. About 5 minutes. Add the parmesan and romano cheese, as well as the Tabasco, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Remove from heat.

Cook the rigatoni 4 minutes and drain. Add the pasta to the bechamel sauce.

Layer 1/2 of the pasta mixture in a 9x13 inch pan. Top with half of the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta and cheese. Before baking, pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk over the top of the dish. Bake for 45 minutes. If it begins to brown to quickly, cover with foil.