Comfort food…some days, you just have to have it. Like today, for instance. Teen Daughter#2 came home from school in tears, because she just found out today that applications to run for Student Council are due tomorrow, and that the process involves an interview as well as a marketing/publicity plan. And she received only an 88 on her algebra test. AND her Dad and I are mean because we won’t sign up to have an exchange student from Austria live with us over the summer. *sigh*
I nixed the meal that I had already planned and made homemade macaroni and cheese, just for my lovely younger daughter. Do you live with teen girls? Do you NEED some gooey, cheese comfort? Here you go.
Macaroni and Cheese
for Sad Daughters
2 lb. of dry pasta, any shape that tickles your fancy
1/2 c butter
5 1/2 c milk
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
nutmeg, just a pinch
2 tsp salt – to taste
ground pepper – to taste
2 c shredded chipolte white cheddar cheese
2 c shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 c parmesean or romano cheese
Note on Cheese – If you are using the chipolte cheddar, then omit the cayenne pepper from the recipe. You can use just about any kind of hard cheese you like – cheddar, gruyere, swiss, whatever is on hand. Don’t have any gruyere? Substitute all cheddar. Last night, I used a block of chipolte cheddar and a wedge of gouda, because that is what was in the fridge.
Cook pasta per the instructions on the box it came in…but only for half of the time. Your pasta should be soft on the outside and still very firm on the inside. Drain, and pour into a very large bowl.
Warm the milk in the microwave, until pleasantly warm. You don’t want to boil it, just get it to the point where it isn’t cold. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour all at once and whisk. Continue to whisk and cook for about a minute. S..L..O..W..L..Y pour the warm milk into the flour mixutre, whisking the entire time. This is very important to ensure that you have a nice, smooth sauce and that it doesn’t burn into a gooey mass on the bottom of your pan. When the mixture is completely hot and bubbly, remove from the stovetop. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except for the parmesean until cheese is completely melted. Pour over the partially cooked macaroni and stir together. It will appear a little soupy – that’s okay!
Dump the entire mixture into a buttered 9×13 baking dish, and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until the pasta is tender and the entire dish is hot and bubbly, with the edges browned.
Serve to your sad child on her favorite Peter Cottontail plate and the silly little silver mug she got when she was a baby.
All will be well.