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.
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.