Hot and Cheesy
Mar. 14, 2009 8:44 pm
Updated: Mar. 16, 2009 6:47 am
To be a gardener in Seattle is to bundle up against the cold and the wet and work between the raindrops. Waiting for good weather is for the weak. So when today's downpour lightened up to merely a minor storm, I threw on the thermals, climbed into a pair of rubber boots, and zipped up my rain jacket. Even so, I was chilled to the bone after an afternoon of late winter garden clean up. I needed a steaming hot bowl of comfort to make all right with the world again.
I also needed to quickly feed two ravenous 14-year-old boys, one of whom is a vegetarian, and neither of whom helped me in the garden. Nevertheless, they needed to eat. So I needed to cook.
Now, I love a good homemade mac & cheese. You can keep it simple or you can add vegetables or chicken or tuna...but today I was in the mood for mac & cheese in its purity. Sure, I used 1/2 Gruyere and 1/2 Cheddar cheese in the sauce and topped it off with a generous layer of Parmesan, but that just gives it more cheesy goodness. And I also used an oversized, hearty elbow macaroni called chiocciole because I needed to make sure I filled those teenage tummies.
Make a butter and flour roux, wisk in hot milk, cook it until it thickens, add the Gruyere and Cheddar, pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in a buttered casserole, top with Parmesan, bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25 minutes, run under the broiler for three minutes. Done.
It was simple and delicious, and as comforting as a purring cat.
That's my comfort food in this final countdown to spring. What about you? What hits the spot these days? Tell me all about it...I'd love to hear from you.
Late winter mac and cheese