December 5, 2008

"Mac" and cheese

I've made, and posted about, this before but that post is no longer up here so I'm re-posting. Besides, it turned out way better this time. I actually made this a few weeks ago but am just now getting around to posting it. The reason would be because in order to download pictures from my camera I have to use the computer in the extra bedroom. The extra bedroom has become a vast no-man's-land, leaving you isolated and cold, unsure if you'll find your way back. We have to keep the door closed to the extra room because Cricket loves to pee on the futon and I don't love to clean it up. Ergo, isolated and cold - banished, if you will. It leads to me procrastinating and putting off doing anything involving that computer, even though the mac is my one true love, in order to avoid being stuck in that room. SGT T even suggested bringing the mac out to the living room and just setting it up on the coffee table. Classy, and oh so tempting.

Once again, the recipe is from Carmen Cooks, who adapted it from Amanda Hesser's "Cooking for Mr. Latte".

Macaroni and Cheese adapted from Amanda Hesser’s “Cooking for Mr. Latte”

2 tablespoons butter , plus more for buttering dish (I used cooking spray for the pan)

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups whole milk (I used skim because it's all I had)

1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese, plus more for topping

3 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (I used shells)

1 cup country ham, cubed (I used bacon. BACON!)

1 cup canned whole plum tomatoes with juice , drained (reserve the juice)

3/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs

ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350, and butter an 8 x 8 baking dish (I used a full size casserole dish, I think the shell pasta was HUGE and it all fit better this way).

In a saucepan, heat the two tablespoons butter until foamy. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until it turns golden, then slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it thicken.

Stir in the cheese and remove from the heat (it should be a loose sauce). Fold in the macaroni and ham, then add tomatoes by squeezing them between your fingers. The mixture should be loose like a thin batter; if it’s gluey or thick, add a little milk or drained tomato juice.

Pour into the casserole dish and spread breadcrumbs over the surface. Top with 1/4 cup cheese and ground pepper (I also added some paprika, both in the sauce and on top. Oh, and some parmesan.). Bake until browned on the top and bubbling, about 25 minutes.


Freckles said...

That looks so good! Can I come over for dinner or you could just come to my house and cook!

Lisa and Josh said...

um, yum! I'm totally going to try this.