"Macaroni and Cheese Please!"
When my husband made this request for dinner, I was pretty floored. He generally prefers "clean" foods like fish, tofu and vegetables, especially for home cooked meals. I knew what the culprit was- we had spent a lazy afternoon loafing on the sofa, watching the Food Network on which Giada or Dave Lieberman (I can't remember who) whipped up a luscious version of the dish favored by children all over the U.S. Another reason for craving the cheesy stuff was that he hadn't been feeling well all weekend and wanted a big dose of comfort food. What could be more comforting than mac 'n cheese? I jumped at the opportunity and headed out to Trader Joe's.
I returned with all the fixin's- half & half, parmesan, fontina, cheddar and gruyere. I was crushed to see that TJ's doesn't sell macaroni so I had to get penne instead since I was low on time. I preceded to make the béchamel and added some mustard powder and a pinch of grated nutmeg to the mix. I combined that in a huge bowl with the al dente penne and four grated cheeses, topped it with buttered panko and popped it in the oven.
Needless to say- it came out all brown/buttery/crunch on top and oozing with cheese in the middle. A nice scoop of that plus a green salad and wine made the perfect Saturday night comfort meal. I can't make a habit of cooking like this (calling Paula Deen!), but it was well worth the calories and the smile on my husband's face! And don't even get me started on the crispy brown edges. That might be my last meal request if I ever get one- "Crispy brown edges of baked macaroni and cheese."
Somtimes, ya just gotta treat yourself!