Macaroni and Cheese, Please, or Quattro Formaggio Cavatappi

Of course. You’re watching what you’re eating. It’s January.
But, there are still nights when you find you need

comfort food comfort food comfort food comfort food comfort food comfort food
One such night was, oh, just the other night. It was a long day… A half hour before my lesson with a long-time student, I jumped into the prep for a warm, crispy and gooey macaroni cheese. I think I had it together in 25 minutes, most of which was spent waiting for the water for the pasta to boil. Grating cheese and whipping milk with spices is not time-consuming. Watch.
The only side was some steamed broccoli, which I nearly always serve with mac and cheese due to my ancient addiction to broccoli with cheese sauce. Here, I just eat a bite of pasta and a bite of broccoli.

Cook’s Note: I have made an old-fashioned, white-sauced mac and cheese out of BETTY CROCKER for years. The recipe I give below is a cross between that and the more up-to-date version (no less fattening) found in THE SPLENDID TABLE’S HOW TO EAT SUPPER by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Here’s how:

3 c cavatappi or penne pasta
1/2 t kosher salt and 1/4 t freshly-ground pepper, divided
1 c milk
1 egg
1/4 c onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced very finely
1/8 t ea onion powder, garlic powder and sweet paprika
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1 c grated Gouda
1/2 ea grated Manchego and pre-grated “Mexican Mix” (Cheddar/Monterey Jack)
1/4 c Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2t extra-virgin olive oil (plus a drizzle for the boiling water for the pasta)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
-In a 6-8 qt stockpot, bring 3-4 qts water to a boil and add 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper to the water, along with a drizzle of olive oil. Add pasta and cook 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
-While pasta cooks, mix remaining ingredients (except panko and olive oil) in a large mixing cup or bowl. Remember to include rest of salt and pepper.  You could put it in the blender or food processor.
-Place drained pasta in a 2 qt., well-greased, ovenproof casserole and pour milk/cheese mixture over the pasta.
-Sprinkle with panko and drizzle with olive oil.
-Bake 40-45 min until gooey and crispy on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
-Serve with steamed broccoli or other steamed vegetables made while the casserole sits.

Yeah, it’s the real deal for dinner. Also, it reheats in the microwave. Reheat each plate individually and very briefly–35-45 seconds.
An aside about the Cassoulet blog, if you read it: I had to have some minor surgery (it’s always minor to anyone not being cut) the other day and came home to a lovely cassoulet thawing on the counter. Dave heated it up gently in a make-shift double boiler and I was able to have a “Calgon, Take me Away” dinner lovingly presented. Freeze nice things, my friends. I was so very happy to come home to my great galley kitchen. So great to have a loving mate.
Does your own kitchen ever look any better than after a visit to a doctor and needles, etc.?

———————————-Kitchen, Sweet Kitchen———————————–

It’s the January thaw time (I don’t think we really call it that outside the mid-west) here in Colorado and I went outside yesterday in a sweatshirt. My former student and locally famous landscape designer is out setting up watering schedules for her clients this week. It’s warm enough and it’s been long enough since we had snow that we must water. Life in the desert!
Sing a new song, enjoy (ha) learning about a new computer and camera……
Over 3 million Haitians are affected by the earthquake…. If you’d like to donate or help, go to site for (World Food Program) to learn more about United Nations/US efforts or to, the website for Share our Strength, No Kid Hungry. Share our Strength is the American organization that will sponosor our Great American Bake Sale in the spring. Both organizations have good info right now. Thanks.