Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summery Macaroni and Cheese


I love making macaroni and cheese almost as much as I love shoving it in my face. The other day across town, Cory was eating a pizza with artichoke hearts on it and at the EXACT HOUR I was in the apartment looking at a pizza menu thinking "mm artichoke would be delicious".


So I thought I would make something to quell the artichoke lust. And the cheese lust. And the urge for macaronies. And Cory cant eat macaroni and cheese without peas, so this greenified Mac'n Cheese was born. It was quite certainly delicious. This would be so nice with a salad, grilled veggies and a bit of ham for a nice summery meal. And maybe the salad will prevent the heart attack eating this would bring on.

I've posted a recipe similar to this on here before, a white sauce based macaroni and cheese recipe, so if you want just a nice base to throw your own stuff in, say some proscuitto, have a look for that.

Summery Macaroni and Cheese

White Sauce:

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Macaroni and Cheese:

1 1/2 cups gruyere
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup sweet peas
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
2 cups elbow macaroni

Set oven to 300 degrees.

Cook the 2 cups of elbow macaroni according to package directions while you work on the other parts of the recipe.

Melt the butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk flour in until well blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the milk a bit at a time.

Return to heat and bring to a simmer, whisking until the sauce is smooth and hot and has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, bay leaf, paprika, nutmeg and mustard powder. Simmer gently, stirring often, 10-15 minutes.

Take out the bay leaf. Remove sauce from the heat, stir in two thirds of the cheese, reserving the rest. Season with salt and pepper. Add the artichoke hearts, peas and green onions.

Drain the noodles and keep them in their pot. Pour in cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Pour half of the mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle with half the remaining cheese. Pour in the rest of the noodles and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of that. I like to shred a bit of fresh Parmesan cheese on top, or you could put bread crumbs, whatever.

Bake until browned on top to your liking. About 30 minutes. Let stand a bit before eating.

I have just enough gruyere left to make a couple of bowls of homemade french onion soup. That shall be my next exciting kitchen adventure!

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