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Friday, September 23, 2011

I've Created a Monster

Kate's "quick mac and cheese".

Yesterday afternoon I received a text from Kate asking me if I could make "a quick mac and cheese" for her to take to school on Thursday for lunch.  This was perplexing on a number of fronts.  First of all, I must make it look effortless because making macaroni and cheese isn't all that quick.  Second of all, why in the world did she need to bring a casserole of macaroni and cheese to school?  And third, and perhaps most troubling, what the heck was she doing texting in what must have been the middle of a class?

When I picked her up I was assured that she had texted in the middle of a free period and that she needed the macaroni and cheese because she was in charge of an entree for a group lunch.  She did not however acknowledge that it would take more than about 10 minutes to throw a "quick mac and cheese" together.

Oh well.

I am incapable of doing anything half way and I know this about myself.  Yes, I probably could have thrown something together but then it wouldn't have been as good as it could have been.  I also had a bunch of odds and ends in the cheese drawer so I figured this would be a good time to use them up.  I ended up making a massive amount of macaroni and cheese, more than Kate needed for school, so Ted and I got to have some for dinner.  I dressed ours up a bit with sliced tomatoes on top, which really helped cut the richness of the pasta.

The mac and cheese ready to hit the road.

The macaroni and cheese was a big success.  The girls loved it and I'm glad that I had the forethought to write down what I had put into it so that if I ever need a quick mac and cheese again I can recreate it.

Recipe:  Macaroni and Cheese


1 pound large shell pasta
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup marscapone cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 large tomato, sliced (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water.  Cook just shy of al dente because the pasta will finish cooking in the oven.  Transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter.  Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes to remove the floury taste.  Slowly add the milk and whisk over medium heat until the thick sauce develops.  Sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Off the heat, add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine well.  The cheese will melt in the hot white sauce.  Pour the cheese mixture over pasta and combine.  Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish.

Melt the remaining butter and combine it with the bread crumbs.   If you are using the tomatoes, evenly space them over the pasta.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the (tomatoes) and pasta.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the pasta is bubbling.

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