IPB Gets Comfy

Ahhhh, Fall — the time of year when a young woman’s fancy turn to thoughts of comfort food. We spent all week eagerly anticipating our traditional Saturday pasta dinner (what, did you think we maintain our girlish physiques by avoiding starches?) because this week I’d put homemade macaroni and cheese on the docket. I use a recipe from this little pamphlet-y cookbook whose name escapes me (it might be something as wildly unexpected as Mac & Cheese), and it never turns out the same way twice. The general gist, though, is simple: a white sauce with whole milk, some sauteed onions and a bit of garlic, lots of butter, three types of cheese, nutmeg and paprika. This week’s version had two types of cheddar (an aged Vermont one and an organic one from Wisconsin), some Monterey Jack (I prefer dry jack, but Boomer picked up normal jack while shopping for me), and Asiago. I like to put orecchiette in this instead of elbow shaped noodles just because I like how chewy De Cecco’s orecchiette stay after baking. The whole process is extremely straightforward, with the most difficult step being not dropping the whole nutmeg into the sauce while grating it. Once the sauce and noodles are combined, top the whole thing in a baking dish with slices of tomato, bread crumbs (I had some leftover mild sourdough in the freezer from some soup earlier this week) and some dried thyme and bake until browned and bubbling.

Mac & Cheese

With a smooth, autumnal glass of red wine, this is a knockout of a dinner, perfect for a chilly night of hockey. Granted, the Devils made this kind of stick in our throats before the night was over, but that wasn’t the fault of the food.

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8 Comments

Filed under Carbo Loading, Hearty Meals

8 responses to “IPB Gets Comfy

  1. Iain

    Wow. That looks… well, let’s start with “not very much like the macaroni they serve in the canteen at work”! Good call with the breadcrumbs – I tend to favour small croûtons of ciabatta fried in butter & garlic.

    I usually find the main risk with nutmeg is not dropping it in the dish, but rather grating some finger into the dish instead. And that? Hurts. Plus, it kinda ruins the meal if you’re cooking for someone else.

  2. As a huge fan of the cheap-o Kraft Mac & Cheese with the powdered cheese stuff, I can say that this really is pretty special. At least comparatively. If it actually was like the stuff they serve at your workplace, Iain, I’d totally want to get a job there! :D

    I’m so with you about the finger-grating. Pookie and Boomer get to enjoy a steady diet of my grated flesh because Schnookie + Microplane = DISASTER. Of course, to avoid that kind of carnage, I often overcompensate and drop the object I’m grating.

    Oh, and next time I make this I’m trying your ciabatta crouton plan — that sounds SO GOOD!

  3. Iain

    I remember once pondering a nutmeg/parmesan grater in a posh shop – it was a cylinder shaped grater with a spring-loaded rotating centre. You put your cheese/whatever in the middle and then turned the handle, and watched joyously as it safely did the grating for you. I’ve regretted not buying it on more than one occasion!

  4. I used to have one of those graters, recommended to me by a friend. It drove me absolutely bonkers, because it wouldn’t ever stay shut. The whole thing seemed like such a great design, but for some reason it just loved exploding open, so I’d end up dropping a bunch of nutmegs (from the little “store your nutmegs here!” section of the tool) and the top of the grater device into my sauces/batters. So I switched back to the Microplane of Death. I wonder if I just had a cheap knock-off of a nutmeg mill, and the real deal works flawlessly?

  5. Iain

    This one was in Harrods in London – very posh (and expensive!), so I would have been raging if it didn’t work properly – especially as I wouldn’t have known until driving 400 miles back home!

  6. Well, if Harrods is selling it, it MUST work well! :D

  7. I’ve been wanting to make Mac ‘N Cheese for several year but for some reason haven’t gotten around to it. Your post has inpsired me to make it next week!

  8. It’s super-easy, kms2! I’m actually making more this weekend for CapsChick’s visit. I want to hear how yours goes — I’m experimenting with cheeses now and I’m a bit nervous that it’ll suck, so I’m really interested to find out what you use and how it works out!

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