Saturday, March 23, 2013

most recent craving: quick and creamy mac n cheese

Two nights ago I came home from a long work day and just needed something delicious and comforting. I am not above a box of mac n cheese as long as I can add my own spin to it (my go to fave is to add a dollop of sour cream and lots of fresh pepper.)  

I was out of the boxed stuff but did have elbow macaroni, some leftover Trader Joe's three cheese blend, goat cheese and skim milk. And who doesn't have butter and flour on hand at all times? The below recipe was made on the fly, and the cheese, type of milk and even seasonings can be altered to your tastes.

serves 4

quick and creamy mac n cheese

1/2 box of elbow macaroni (or any of your favorite pasta)
4 tablespoons of butter
a few tablespoons of flour
1/2 cup skim milk (you can use full-fat milk, or heavy cream, but you still get a really creamy mac and save some calories.)
a few handfuls of three cheese blend, shredded--I used mozzarella, monterey jack and cheddar, but switch it up
2 tablespoons of goat cheese, softened
fresh parsley

(You will notice some of my measurements are not exact, but I am more about tasting as I go and adjusting.)

  • put up a pot of water to start boiling--add a generous amount of sea salt once boiled and add pasta.
  • drop the butter in a preheated saucepan and allow it to start melting. Add your flour until you form a rue (it should thicken into a paste like substance, and not get too dark in color.) You want the raw flour taste to cook out, and you can feel free to add more butter or flour until it forms into that paste.
  • remove from the heat, add your milk and whisk quickly--you want to infuse the milk with your rue and really get it nice and thick. Once it is fully incorporated, add salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and parsley. I used fresh because I always keep it on hand and freeze the excess, but dried works fine too.
  • bring the pot back to the stove and keep it on a very low heat. Add your cheeses and stir (probably want to switch to a spoon from the whisk at this point.) Once the cheese is melted, keep it on low heat, stirring occasionally, until your pasta is ready.
  • drain the pasta, and add to the pot with your sauce. Mix together and serve. 

It comes out so creamy because I avoid baking it, and make an extra thick sauce with my rue.

tip: when reheating, put the leftovers in a bowl, with a bit of milk or cream, and zap for about 20 seconds. Take it out and stir and then put it back in for another 1-2 minutes and it will keep its creaminess the next day.

quick and creamy mac and cheese: finished product

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