Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Foodie Files

Baked macaroni and cheese has seen me through some times, people.  I've made it to celebrate, I've certainly made for the express purpose of eating my feelings, and I'll even occasionally make it just cause I'm craving the taste (crazy, right?).  While I'm comfortable with my made-up recipe, I wanted to stay open to the idea of taking it to the next level...especially when it's so often called upon to save the day.  I toyed with a new recipe today that turned out delicious, even in spite of a few unexpected ingredients that required some serious trust (nutmeg and cayenne pepper?  So weird, right?  But it works!).

1 lb cavatappi pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
6 oz shredded gruyere cheese
2 oz finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water 1 to 2 minutes less than package instructions.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and whisk for about a minute.  Add milk, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste then bring to a simmer.  Cook, whisking, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.  Whisk in cheeses until smooth.  Pour over pasta and toss to coat.  Transfer to a baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, about 60 minutes.  Remove foil and broil on high for 5 minutes or until golden brown.


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