Friday, January 10, 2014

Procrastination Recipe: The Rest of the NYE Meal

I apologize for letting more than a week slip by since I made this dish. It's been so cold in Boston (cold enough that after 30 minutes of bare skin exposure to the elements frostbite can set in... sounds super fun, doesn't it?) that I'm just going to be honest with you... the cold makes me geriatric. My brain feels like it's running in slowmo and all I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there until April. Maybe March, if it's mild. I usually love the winter but it's hitting me hard this year. I haven't been snowboarding yet, so maybe if I just did that I could get into the wintry spirit.

So back to the meal I served on New Year's Eve... 

We had macaroni and cheese with two sides - sauteed mushrooms and sauteed brussel sprouts. 

Let's start with the sides. Both were super easy. I made them while holding a cocktail in one hand and carrying on with the conversation and I didn't spill any food or drink on me, so I'd call that a success.

Brussel Sprouts:
Two bags brussel sprouts (peel away the bad leaves if need be, cut off the end and cut in half)
About a half cup of shaved parmesan
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Sautee the sprouts in the butter until they soften to whatever level of crunch vs. soft you prefer. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and shaved Parmesan and serve.

I used two kinds of mushrooms. Which varieties you choose to use is up to you. Here we have a carton of baby bellas and two portabello caps, chopped. Sautee with two tablespoons of butter until they get to that perfect brown color. Add in about a half cup of marsala wine and cook on low heat until the wine reduces.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Now onto the main dish...
Every time I make macaroni and cheese I try different cheeses. I am convinced that I haven't yet found the mecca of combinations, though every cheese combo I've tried has been delicious. The follow combination is actually of my father's making. He's a pretty darn good cook. And very adventurous. The best this he ever served me (this is getting off track and I apologize) was a panini on sourdough bread with fresh basil leaves, brie cheese and chocolate chips. I know that sounds gross but it was the best thing I have ever eaten. Scout's honor.

Mac N Cheese
One and a half boxes, pasta of your choice. I used a box of cavatappi and half a box of that weird cylindrical pasta that I can't think of the name of. (Boil pasta as per box directions, drain and pour into casserole dish.)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
Monterey Jack
(For the cheeses, a block of each)
Panko Crumbs

In a large pan melt butter, stir in flour and make your roux. Cook on low for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the flour taste. Then slowly (I like to do about a cup at a time) stir in the milk. The roux will help it to thicken a bit. Then we add the cheeses, slowly, so they have time to melt. Save some of the parmesan for the last step.

While cheese sauce is being made, chop a handful of fresh parsley leaves and mix them without about a cup and a half of panko crumbs and half a cup of parmesan. This is going to be your topping. When cheese sauce is perfect (ie thoroughly melted) pour over pasta in casserole dish. Top with panko-parsley mixture and bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbling around the edge of the dish.

I would also like to note that I am a fan of adding in veggies like peas and broccoli but since I was cooking for people whose culinary tastes I was uncertain of I made it plain. But certainly you can spice the dish up with veggies or meat (or lobstah!). And you'll have leftovers for a few days, depending upon how many people you're feeding. It's a perfect wintry meal. And not, in case it wasn't clear from the ingredients, a low-cal dish.



1 comment

  1. Oooooo! Would love to try the mac and cheese with broccoli. This dish was so fantastic and the leftovers tasted great for days.


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