Thursday, May 24, 2012

surprise! mac-n-cheese

what's better than coming home to your significant other getting you flowers?


too bad i already went out with my friend for dinner and drinks before this (doesn't mean i didn't snag a bite or two!!)

mr p went out after work too, but he was tired of eating chicken sammiches for lunch AND dinner, so when i come home at 9:15, he's in the middle of boiling the pasta and making the bechamel (flour/milk mixture) with the shredded cheese sitting to the side.

multitasking at it's best!

trust me, kraft mac-n-cheese just doesn't cut it after you've had the good stuff!! ....ok ok i'll let you take velveeta shells and cheese before kraft any day, but if you have time to whip up the real stuff, just do it!

we happened to have 4 different kinds of cheese just WAITING to get used up (thanks, BJ's for luring us into buying giant blocks of cheese every time we go to your store)

unfortunately, mr p didn't think that cinnamon/cranberry cheddar would go well in mac-n-cheese (though i was up for an adventure!!)  

but we did have colby-jack, and two other we-know-what-they-taste-like-but-can't-remember-their-names cheeses that have been lingering in the fridge for a while, so best to use it in a dish like this!!  (pretty much any cheese would do though... as long as it can dissolve into the bechamel!)

(with tomatoes, onions, shallots, chives, and truffle oil!)

1 tbsp butter
1 box penne pasta (cooked to al dente according to instructions)
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion (diced)
1 shallot (diced)
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
2 tsp garlic powder
3 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
4 cups freshly grated cheese (any kind! we used 3 different kinds, all about the same texture of colby-jack)
chives, finely chopped (optional, to taste)
2 roma tomatoes, diced (optional, to taste)
panko bread crumbs (to sprinkle on top)
black truffle oil (or truffle-infused oil, optional)

heat large dutch oven on stove over medium high heat.  add butter, and allow to melt.  add garlic, shallot, onions, and salt, and cook until onions are translucent (few minutes). add milk and garlic powder, then add flour and whisk until flour no longer has chunks, and bechamel is smooth. add cheese and whisk until cheese has completely melted into the sauce. add the al dente pasta and thoroughly combine (with whisk or wooden spoon). add chives and tomatoes, and stir again.  taste for saltiness.  depending on what kind of cheese you use, you may or may not need to add additional salt.  generously sprinkle top of mixture with panko, then lightly drizzle with truffle oil (or serve into small glass pyrex dishes like we did!!  lunches are good to go for a LONG time!!)
bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until tops of top penne pieces start to become brown.

homemade mac-n-cheese.
(didn't think you'd ever do THAT did ya? thank me by making it yourself and telling me how it goes!!) 

then, hit the gym, because you WILL eat too much, and you WILL feel stuffed, because you DID eat too much, and you REALLY want to take a nap instead.

finished the night watching cartoon batman.
(well, HE watched, while i perused the internet :P)

thanks, mr p! you're the best, as always :D

until next time,

p.s. my apologies for the LACK of photo quality! mr p was going so fast when i got home i had to grab the first thing i could find!  which meant my iphone, which takes HORRIBLE pictures in our kitchen light.


tiff@thecoffeehouse said...

I can barely make mac&cheese from a box. This looks difficult. and amazing. And difficult. and it appears you have leftovers. send my way. please and thank you.

Unknown said...

Looks soooo delicious :)))

dreaming en francais said...

YUM. I'm such a sucker for mac&cheese, especially the homemade kind. Definitely a good surprise to come home to! xo

jenn @ beyond the stoop said...

it seems to be a growing trend that restaurants around here have mac-n-cheese on their menus... so mac-n-cheese is basically ALWAYS on my mind (sometimes i think mr p and i are telepathic :P)