Two of my favorite ingredients, cheese and pasta, combined together – I generally expect nothing less than tasty explosions in my mouth. Jamie Oliver has a recipe for “macaroni cheese” and although I used his recipe as a base for mine, you can really use anything. My heart is generally torn between cooking and baking, because really, they are two different things. When I bake, I find that when I take the liberties that I do with cooking, it doesn’t come out the same. Thankfully you can probably take any liberties you want with this. Here is my take on macaroni & cheese…
Cook pasta as directed (any shape, pick your favorite. We had farfalle, so that’s what I used)
In a separate pan, use, as Jamie says, a “knob of butter”. Now to me, a knob can mean a great deal of sizes. Answers.com says it’s two tablespoons, I used about 4. It’s not important. Melt some butter in a pan and add spices – I used herbs he provence. Add a little bit of milk (whole milk really works the best for that creamy taste. It’s days like this when I wish we had something more than 2% in our refrigerator). Once it’s melted and hot, add your grated cheese. For a really creamy dish, use at least two cups (per pound of pasta). I used a smoked gouda and aged white cheddar. Once it is melty, add the drained (and cooked) pasta to the cheese mixture.
Pour into a casserole dish and salt and pepper (I’m sure my mom is reading this. Yes, I added salt & pepper. But I assure you, this is the first time I have even touched salt since I’ve been out of the hospital – and I didn’t go overboard with it – just a dash 🙂 I also added about 1/2 an ounce of black truffle oil). Top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Pop under the broiler for another 3-5 minutes to get that crunchy, cheesy top.
Cheesy goodness, oh, how I love you!!!