Mac and cheese to comfort the winter blues
Winter is one of the times people appreciate comfort foods. The cold gray days make us seek something to heighten our mood. Comfort foods, like meat loaf, stews, soup, or macaroni and cheese are called for.
Macaroni and cheese is one of the great comfort foods. It lends itself to all kinds of ingredient creativity.
Mac and cheese is made with a basic mornay sauce using cheddar and/or other cheeses.
This recipe uses Parmesan and provolone along with plenty of black pepper.
I topped this with canned onion rings left over from another recipe. Bread crumbs will work just fine.
If you want to splurge, add shrimp, crab, or lobster to your mac and cheese.
1 pound elbow macaroni or your favorite shaped pasta (Fusilli, rigatoni, bows, etc)
6 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
21/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound grated Parmesan (Not the fake stuff in the green can please)
1/2 pound provolone shredded
Coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. anchovy paste (Optional)
Canned onion rings or bread crumbs for topping
If you are making baked mac and cheese preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring six quarts salted water to a boil.
Cook pasta according to package directions less one minute. If you are not baking the mac and cheese cook pasta through until al dente.
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Whisk in flour little at a time until all is incorporated and pasty. Do not let the roux brown.
Slowly add cream while whisking.
Whisk until a semi-thick sauce forms.
Beat the egg.
Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the egg and whisk.
Add the egg and sauce mixture to the pan.
Add a hefty pinch of salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste.
Simmer and whisk for about one minute.
Add Parmesan a little at a time while whisking.
Add the Provolone a little at a time and continue to whisk.
If the sauce becomes too thick thin it out with some of the pasta water.
When pasta is cooked, drain well and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add the sauce and incorporate thoroughly.
You can serve it as is or:
Place mac and cheese in a 9 inch greased baking dish or 10 inch deep greased pie dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.