My wife was away at a conference and the girls were home with me. We decided to do something fun together. The kids wanted to cook and came up with a menu. We were going to have Mac-n-Cheese and Brownies. We went to the grocery store and shopped. We took the easy route on the brownies but decided to make a fancy Mac-n-Cheese partly thanks to the fact that we had just stocked up on some great cheese from Whole Foods.
In the spirit of the Master card commercial – Amount spent on groceries – $15, time spent on cooking – 2 hours, value of the experience – priceless.
While I wouldn’t change anything about the experience, the next time I make a similar Mac-n-Cheese, I would use a little more cheese and perhaps a more flavorful mushroom. I probably would broil a little longer as well. Here is the recipe we made.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 4 people)
2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 mongo Yellow Onion – finely chopped
1 large Portobello Mushroom chopped
4 sprigs of Thyme – finely chopped
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of grated cheese (I used a mix of equal portions of Raw Milk Farmhouse Gouda, Killaree Cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano)
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt to taste
A few pine nuts and a little grated Parmigiano Reggiano for sprinkling on top before baking.
1. Cook pasta al dente according to instructions.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan
3. Add chopped onion and cook on medium heat till transparent.
4. Add mushroom and thyme
5. Add flour and stir till evenly blended
6. Add milk a little at a time till you have a nice thick sauce
7. Add the spices and cook 1 min.
8. Add the mustard
9. Add the cheese
10. Add more milk if needed. The consistency should be pretty thick since this sauce will be coating the pasta.
11. Adjust seasoning. NOTE: You want the sauce to be slightly over-salty since you will be adding pasta to it later.
12. Bring to a boil and turn the heat off.
13. Mix the prepared pasta into the sauce.
14. Pour the mix into an oven-proof casserole.
15. Top with pine nuts and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
16. Broil in the oven till the top is slightly brown and bubbling.
17. Take it out of the oven.